The space available at sea is limited. In order to make optimum use of that space, it is important to combine various activities in the same location. That is called multi-use or multiple use of space. The Horizon 2020 project UNITED is strongly focused on this.
Jan 2020 - Dec 2023
DBC as an observer, International project

The UNITED project wants to promote the multiple use of oceans by developing demonstration projects. In doing so, many technical, regulatory, economic, social and environmental requirements and effects are thoroughly examined.

A pilot project has been established in Belgium on the cultivation of European flat oysters (O. edulis) and sugar kelp (S. latissima) in the Belwind offshore wind farm. It uses suspended cultivation systems which are adapted to the rough sea and commercially applicable. The installation is currently being tested in the Westdiep zone.

The project also investigates whether the erosion protection layer of wind turbines can serve as a reef for young oysters. This allows aquaculture to supply oysters in the short term to support restoration efforts, and developed oyster reefs can eventually supply oyster larvae to provide local seed oysters to the industry.

Presentation of the UNITED project

The restoration of European flat oyster reefs is not only a Belgian, but also a European challenge. Seaweed, on the other hand, is grown both offshore and nearshore (Westdiep) to compare nutritional and growth characteristics, sowing techniques and origins of plant material.

The integration of energy and food productions, as well as restoration as envisioned in the Belgian pilot project is a great example of multiple use of space, infrastructure and manpower at sea.

Partners: Acteon (France); Oceans of Energy, Deltares Institute, Stichting Noordzeeboerderij, The Seaweed Company, TNO, Ventolines and Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands); 4H-JENA Engineering GmbH, Ecologic Institute, Forschungs- und Entwicklungszentrum Fachhochschule Kiel GmbH, Kieler Meeresfarm GmbH and SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth (Germany); Kastelorizo Aquaculture, Planet Blue Dive Center and WINGS (Greece); Brevisco, Colruyt Group, Jan De Nul Group, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Parkwind and Ghent University (Belgium); SPOK Consultants and Syddansk Universitet (Denmark); and Hidromod (Portugal).

With the support of: the European Union via the framework programme Horizon 2020

Blue Cluster is a member of the advisory board of this project.

Contact: Lien Loosvelt

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