FINO 2 pilot update – March 2024

Within ULTFARMS, the Baltic Sea pilot is being coordinated by the R&D centre Kiel GmbH, in cooperation with the DNV at the research platform´s position of FINO2, 33 kilometres near the island Rügen. As no aquaculture infrastructure is installed, the past year was spent on the legislation and design phase. It was challenging to finalize a system design, as many factors needed consideration, from physical constraints to legal liabilities. After careful evaluation, a modular grow-out system was designed, which does not impair the operation of the wind park or the research platform. This novel approach is aimed to be based on the mere underwater attachment to a monopile structure using magnets not to distress the anti-corrosion layer of the monopile.                

Such attachment would enable the possibility to conduct growth tests on countless monopiles with various species of economic interest, from macroalgae to bivalves, or be used as a structure to host actions of nature-inclusive design (Figure 6).  

A first test trial was successfully deployed at FINO2 and at the nearshore site in September 2023 and was used to test the growth of Ulva strain. A fully developed prototype will be deployed in Spring 2024. Simultaneously, selecting suitable macroalgae for the Baltic Sea was of focus. A first sampling campaign was launched in the summer 2023 to sample Ulva intestinalis in the vicinity of FINO2 and the nearshore site (Figure 4). The algae were chosen due to its incredible tolerance towards environmental parameters such as salinity and its natural occurrence, which spreads through most of the Baltic Sea. The macroalgae were collected from four localities near the pilot’s location and brought to our partner’s laboratory at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the Nordic Seaweed farm (Figure 4). The Ulva individuals were scaled up and deployed for grow-out. Positive growth was observed at the nearshore site; further sampling campaign is required to find the optimal candidate for the offshore site (Figure 5, 6).

Nature-inclusive design (NID) goes along with the increased push for sustainability within aquaculture projects. On a pilot level, we aim to present prototype configurations that promote specimens in the surrounding water body at the FINO2 location (Figure 6). Possible scenarios have been evaluated according to a NID catalogue. We aim to increase the complexity of habitats and provide shelter for juvenile fish, especially. 

Small-scale tests with Sugar kelp have been performed on rope and frame configurations, in cooperation with a local school, Club of Rome Lernwerft Kiel, as a part of the local outreach campaign. The macroalgae´s growth is monitored on a weekly basis until harvest occurs in spring 2024. The prospective high school graduates learn to plan, implement, and analyze a scientific project with all backfalls and success. 

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