5 belgian companies promise to revolutionize the marine energy sector
A consortium of Tractebel, Jan De Nul Group, DEME, Soltech and Ghent University announced the launch of an innovative project in the field of marine floating solar technology.
The partners strongly believe that solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in offshore waters are one of the essential future green energy sources. Combined in the same location with aquaculture and offshore wind power, this innovative technology allows for a more efficient use of available space.
Taking solar technology to a rough offshore environment needs the existing solar PV panels to be adapted to resist salty water and withstand strong currents and wave action. In addition, a cost competitive concept for the floater structure should be designed. Finally, ecosystem integration of the floating PV panels will be investigated from the start, to reduce the impact as much as possible.
The consortium partners bring together all required skills and expertise to make this innovative project a success. While Tractebel has built strong engineering skills in both PV technology and offshore engineering, DEME and Jan De Nul Group are highly experienced in marine operations and involved in numerous windfarm developments and installations. Soltech is an expert in specialized solar PV panels and Ghent University is one of the leading knowledge centers in offshore engineering, aquaculture and ecosystem research.
The consortium, led by Tractebel, was set up in the framework of the Flemish Blue Cluster and is strongly supported by VLAIO. For this initiative, the budget of about € 2 Mio is a result of joined forces between industry and government support. With these means, the consortium aims to develop new concepts and perform laboratory and field testing to take the first steps towards the commercialization of the technology.
The partners of the consortium are the first in Belgium to explore this pioneering offshore solar solution. Their ambition is also to be the first to realize offshore solar farms in the Belgian North Sea - eventually in combination with windfarms or aquaculture. In this way, the partners position themselves in this new, fast-evolving market.