MaREI to lead €9m project to build floating offshore platform

MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine hosted by University College Cork has been awarded €9 million for the H2020 project MUSICA to build a pilot multi-use platform which will be a decarbonising one-stop-shop for small islands, including their marine initiatives (Blue Growth) and ecosystems.

MUSICA which stands for Multiple Use of Space for Island Clean Autonomy will pilot a floating offshore platform which will provide 70% of the electricity and 100% of freshwater for a small island with up to 2000 inhabitants. The energy will be supplied via renewable energy and will be a combination of wind, PV and wave energy and the desalinated water will be powered by green renewable electricity.

Small islands normally pay double if not triple the cost for electricity and water supply, and often have very poor or intermittent supply. This project will provide a cost-effective solution whilst also providing independence and autonomy and will demonstrate that floating multi-purpose platforms can share the same space and work synergistically together, sharing supply chains and reducing operating and maintenance costs and solving the increasing demand for space.

The platform will also provide a support infrastructure for local aquaculture, trialling an offshore aquaculture cage beside the platform, providing all the energy and feed for the cage to provide higher fish yields, and an environmentally green product. The provision of a floating refuelling station for yachts and boats means that they can recharge their batteries and stock up with fresh water without having to go into a busy marina, and pay high fees.

MUSICA is of great interest to the European Commission as well as the United Nations. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is a United Nations initiative supporting small island states which are increasingly prone to climate change problems as well as water shortages. As MUSICA is the ideal solution for SIDS the team has been invited by the UN to present the project at the next SIDS meeting in New York.

Ireland also has an interest in offshore floating platforms, wanting to be a world leader on offshore floating wind as well as floating platforms containing sensors and data monitoring. MUSICA will be presenting its low-cost floating platform solution to Simon Coveney in the near future.

MaREI’s Gordon Dalton who is leading the project said “a successful demonstration pilot of the MUSICA platform will place Ireland as the world leader in providing energy, water and aquaculture solutions for the important niche market of small island around the globe.”

The 5-year project which has 15 partners from 7 EU Member States will develop complete business plans to move to MUSICA to mass-market commercialisation and will start by developing roadmaps for 3 trail case study islands: Malta, Canaries, and Chios in the Aegean.