Space@Sea project publishes roadmap for floating islands

In 2017, Space@Sea started a 3-year research into developing a concept of modular floating islands. The project results and the remaining barriers for multi-use floating islands are published in a report. Included also are a roadmap and timeline towards large scale deployment of multi-use islands.

The Space@Sea project kicked-off in November 1, 2017. The project aimed at making a step in efficient use of the maritime environment. A consortium, consisting of 17 European partners from multi disciplines, started a research into developing a standardised and cost efficient modular island with low ecological impact to provide sustainable and affordable workspace at sea. The project was coordinated by MARIN.

The idea behind the Space@Sea modular floating islands concept came from the container concept used to standardise general cargo in the transport sector. By interconnecting modular elements, a flexible structure can be created.

It has been the objective to design the modular floaters to support different activities at sea at low operational risks and costs. Four applications were studied being farming, transport and logistics hub, energy hub and living. The energy hub could provide support to offshore floating wind farms from which maintenance and support activities can be done and acts as a storage place for spare parts.

Single use business cases have been studied for the individual applications as well as multi-use combinations of these four applications.

Future developments
Space@Sea has delivered a technical concept to Technology Readiness Level 5. According to the consortium, technically there are no major barriers for exploiting single-use and multi-use floating islands. The current design will allow first applications, although it will not be the optimal solution and probably too expensive, it is already possible.

To go beyond this to full commercialisation, more technical developments are needed to bring the costs down which should focus on the mooring, rigid connectors between floaters, novel materials, and large-scale production processes. In addition, a process which looks at governance, law, financing, and other essential disciplines to bring the concept to the market were underexposed due to the nature of the project.

Space@Sea partners
The project partners, in addition to MARIN, are: DeltaSync, DST, Nemos, Delft University of Technology, Mocean Offshore, TU Hamburg Harburg, Bluewater, University of Rostock, Gicon-Grossmann, Wageningen University & Research, University Duisburg-Essen, TU Graz, Waterstudio, Icepronav, Val Fou and GeoSea. The project is partly funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Read the full report here.