The government of the Netherlands plans to turn an offshore seaweed farm in the North Sea into a huge solar power farm that aims to supply energy to the dutch mainland. They plan to finish the project in a span of three years.
This project is just right on time for the Netherlands, which is currently struggling to curb the use of fossil fuels and meet their greenhouse gas emission targets after years of underinvesting in renewable energy sources.
According to Allard van Hoeken, the founder of Oceans of Energy, which devised the project, next year, after an initial pilot, a group of energy producers, scientists and researchers pan to operate 2,500 square meters of floating solar panels by the year 2021.
The government of Netherlands will be funding 1.2 million euros or $2.48 million for the pilot. The pilot will be operating 30 square meters of panels from this summer. It will be testing the equipment, weather conditions, environmental impact as well as energy output.
Urecht University will be examining energy production at the offshore prototype which is found around 15 kilometers (nine miles) off the coast of Dutch city of The Hague at a testing zone, North Sea Farm.
Source: Lawyer Issue
“In addition to removing the problem of a land shortage, there are several other benefits to building at sea, similar to those in wind energy,” solar energy expert Wilfried van Sark at Utrecht University, who is involved in the project said.
“There is more sun at sea and there is the added benefit of a cooling system for the panels, which boosts output by up to 15 percent,” he said.
Once this project is successful, there will be a lot of space to expand the farm, unlike on the Dutch mainland which is overcrowded and there has been public opposition to wind turbines.
According to Van Sark, the panels will look more rugged than ordinary onshore models to account for harsh weather conditions and tidal shifts at sea. The panels will be fastened between existing wind turbines and connected to the same cables, transporting energy efficiently to the users.
Van Hoeken said that he expects offshore solar energy to be eventually cheaper than mainland power sources.