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Space@Sea  - Next Steps

William Otto

The Horizon 2020 project ‘Space@Sea’ brought large scale floating islands one step closer to realisation. Major progress has been made, however still many steps have to be taken before realisation. One of the lessons learnt in Space@Sea is that the main technical challenge is in the interconnection between the modules and it’s mooring system to the seabed. The Space@Sea consortium was successful in designing connections for seastates up to 2m to 3m. A mooring system for the Mediterranean environment was also deemed technically feasible, although it has to be said that this mooring system might be infeasible from a cost perspective. To address these findings, the next steps should focus on these loads. One next step is the research to more hybrid forms of artificial islands. The hybridity comes from the combination of a fixed reclaimed island with a floating part. In this way loading on the mooring and connections of the floating part can be reduced, as the reclaimed part is providing shelter. When the mooring and connection loads are reduced, these can be downsized, resulting in a new and possibly better business case. The next steps are to investigate different hybrid forms. One hybrid form can be a large reclaimed island with minor floating additions. The additional floating building ground can then be used as temporal, interchangeable add-ons to the island. Another hybrid form of interest can be a large floating part protected by a breakwater. In this form the land area of the reclaimed part is limited, the main source of building ground will be floating.


Another next step to investigate different floater types. Space@Sea has learnt us that barge type pontoons have many advantages from an application point of view. However, with all the knowledge gathered about the connection and mooring forces, a next step will be to investigate other floater types. For example, small waterplane area floaters such as semi-submersibles. As a next step it is recommended to investigate whether the benefits of the low wave loading on a semi-submersible can be combined with the practical utilization benefits of barge type floaters. From a commercial point of view, one of the lessons learnt is that especially the first realisations will be extremely capital intensive. As a next step, it is recommended to investigate a military application for the floating islands. When navies are willing to act as launching costumers for this concept, it is expected that this will give a new impulse towards realisation. It is expected that with these next steps the lessons learnt in Space@Sea can be fully utilized.

KEYWORDS: Floating Islands, future research, next steps


William Otto has been educated as a naval architect at the TU Delft with a specialisation in ship hydrodynamics. His main field of expertise is the dynamic behaviour of moored constructions. This expertise has been obtained by performing numerous model test campaigns at MARIN for, among others, FLNG's, FPSO's, semi-submersibles, drill ships and floating wind turbines. Lately his focus has been shifted to large sale flexible, or piece-wise flexible, floaters. The application of these are in the field of floating islands creating multi-purpose deck-space. Net to model test campaigns, William Otto is involved in the development for complex mooring simulations for flexible and piece-wise flexible floaters with many-bodies in the space@sea EU project.

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