University College Cork (UCC) is leading an EU project that is looking at smarter and more sustainable ways of using the sea by sharing space.
One of the projects involves a Norwegian seaweed company SES, which has been investigating the potential of moving its seaweed farms farther offshore. By combining with Wave Dragon, a very large wave energy device, the seaweed company could locate farms in areas not normally considered viable and where space remains abundant.
The Wave Dragon protects the seaweed from large waves and creates energy at the same time.
By sharing space and working together, Wave Dragon and SES could share installation and maintenance costs, reducing the overall cost to each.
The Wave Dragon project is part of an EU action, Maribe, led by UCC with other university and business partners.
"It is hoped to pilot the Wave Dragon project off the Welsh coast," says Dr Gordon Dalton of UCC, the principal investigator of the programme, "and we have been helping companies involved in the Welsh scheme to prepare plans to secure the funding they require."
Another example of the synergy between the aquaculture and wave industries is a project being developed by Albatern Ltd and the AquaBiotech group. Albatern's wave energy devices could be installed close to a fish farm in locations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Malta) up to 6km offshore.
The new wave energy device could then provide electricity directly to the fish farm reducing its costs and ensuring a supply of sustainable energy.