New offshore floating photovoltaic (PV) technology
Combining offshore floating solar with offshore wind sites has the potential to add large volumes of additional renewable capacity.
SEAVOLT technology (patent pending) can withstand harsh offshore conditions while creating large surfaces that are protected from the waves. The modular design allows for easy adaptation to different sites and demands. Benefits include local renewable energy production and the possibility to install the panels in offshore windfarms (where local authorities permit multi-use concessions). Another advantage is the addition of large volumes of renewable energy capacity in a relatively short time.
Test installation to be launched off the Belgian coast
The partners, together with Ghent University, started the VLAIO-funded (the Flemish government’s Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship) research project MPVAQUA (Marine PV Aquaculture) within the frame of Blue Cluster four years ago. A marine floater concept was developed together with initial research on effects on the marine ecosystem, integration of aquaculture, and a financial assessment. Following laboratory testing, the partners are currently developing an offshore test installation which will be launched off the Belgian coast in summer 2023. Furthermore, parallel tracks focusing on the ecosystem, the environment and cost effectiveness are being launched with the support of the Energy Transition Fund and the Federal Relaunch Fund.
Solar and wind energy are complementary
The interest from the PV sector in offshore locations stems from land scarcity, combined with the need for local production and rapid acceleration of the energy transition. Photovoltaic technology is developing faster than ever: The “magic” 1-TW milestone of installed capacity was reached in 2022, the need for local renewable energy production is increasing drastically, and the complementarity between wind and solar technology has been confirmed all over the world. As authorities allow for multi-use concessions and the grid infrastructure shows good potential for combined use, the addition of offshore floating solar to current and future offshore wind sites presents an opportunity to add large volumes of additional renewable energy.
Philippe Van Troeye, Tractebel CEO:
“In the same way that we have seen wind technology moving from land to the sea, we are seeing the extension of the whole energy system towards offshore locations. Along with offshore green fuel production, offshore energy islands, interconnectors, and potential solutions for energy storage, we believe offshore floating PV has an important role to play in the acceleration of the energy transition. While this technology is still in its infancy, we are convinced that with such strong partners on board we are giving SEAVOLT all possible chances to succeed.”
Luc Vandenbulcke, DEME CEO:
“With our focus on working towards a sustainable planet, DEME is again showing its pioneering spirit. By working closely with like-minded partners, we have developed SEAVOLT - a new renewable energy solution which has great potential to accelerate the clean energy transition. DEME has decades of knowledge about what it means to operate in an offshore environment, and we are already the leading contractor in the offshore wind sector. We believe combining solar and wind energy offshore provides fantastic opportunities for the future.”
Philippe Hutse, Offshore Director at Jan De Nul Group:
"We are thrilled to launch the SEAVOLT technology, which represents the culmination of years of hard work and innovation in offshore PV technology together with our partners. SEAVOLT is a reliable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly solution that can be deployed in even the harshest offshore conditions. As the offshore wind industry continues to grow, we believe that it has the potential to play a crucial role in optimizing the use of space on the sea by complementing offshore wind farms. We are excited to see how SEAVOLT will shape the future of renewable energy and contribute to a more sustainable future."
Want to know more? Visit www.seavolt.be
Tractebel is a global engineering company delivering game-changing solutions for a carbon-neutral future. Insights gathered during our more than 150 years of experience in energy, water, infrastructures and nuclear projects combined with local expertise allow us to tackle complex future-oriented projects. By connecting strategy, design, engineering and project management, our community of imaginative experts helps companies and public authorities create positive impact towards a sustainable world, where people, planet and profit collectively thrive. With offices in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North and Latin America, the company registered a turnover of 579 million euros in 2021. Tractebel is part of the ENGIE Group, a global reference in low-carbon energy and services. – www.tractebel-engie.com
DEME (Euronext Brussels: DEME) is a leading contractor in the fields of offshore energy, environmental remediation, dredging and marine infrastructure. DEME also engages in concessions activities in offshore wind, marine infrastructure, green hydrogen, and deep-sea mineral harvesting. The company can build on more than 145 years of experience and is a front runner in innovation and new technologies. DEME’s vision is to work towards a sustainable future by offering solutions for global challenges: a rising sea level, a growing population, the reduction of emissions, polluted rivers and soils and the scarcity of mineral resources. DEME can rely on about 5,000 highly skilled professionals and operates one of the largest and most technologically advanced fleets in the world.– www.deme-group.com
About Jan De Nul
Jan De Nul Group is a modern and innovative company that solves complex challenges of today’s society in a sustainable way. Our talented people develop solutions that contribute to the energy transition and secure the next generation’s future in the face of the world’s challenges.
Our expertise lies in five main activities: offshore energy, dredging and maritime construction, civil construction, environmental activities and project development. We enable the production of offshore energy and contribute to the electrification and interconnectivity of society. We maintain the depth of waterways and protect coasts from the effects of climate change. We build new ports and create extra land. We realise complex infrastructure works and erect any type of building. We tackle pollution in all its forms. From design and engineering up to execution and maintenance, we unburden our clients with total solutions that combine one, several or even all activities. – www.jandenul.com
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