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UniRC| Progetto “The Blue Growth Farm”. Experimental Campaign at the NOEL Laboratory of the Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria

An innovative experimental campaign is being launched at the laboratory NOEL of the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, dell’Energia, dell’Ambiente e dei Materiali - DICEAM - dell’Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, first and only natural marine engineering laboratory in the world. Thanks to the exceptional geographical and meteorological characteristics of the Strait of Messina, sea states generated by the wind with significant heights Hs = 0.20-0.80 m and peak periods Tp = 2.0-3.6 s, representative of Mediterranean or real ocean storms, are regularly achieved. Such conditions are very rare in other seas, where low-intensity sea states regularly have long-sea wave components, not being useful for modeling purposes.

The experimental campaign is part of the "The Blue Growth Farm" project, funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant Agreement 774426), in order to contribute to:
- reduce costs and increase the economic profitability of multipurpose platforms for the maritime industry in Europe;
- develop methods and systems capable of involving local communities and the actors of these new technological developments;
- improve the skills and professional skills of those working in the sector of the so-called Blue Economy.

A model of an automated multifunctional platform, characterized by modularity and environmental sustainability, for offshore aquaculture plants in the Blue Growth industry will be developed and validated. The multipurpose floating offshore platform will create an ideal protected environment to host an aquaculture system. automated, capable of producing high quality fish, as well as a dock area capable of housing a 10 MW commercial wind turbine and a number of wave energy converters (WECs). The structural platform will then result from the assembly of prefabricated reinforced concrete caissons using low-cost, corrosion-resistant and low-maintenance techniques.

Two experiments on scale models of the platform were planned. The first experiment was conducted in a wave tank in the period September-October 2019, at the Ecole Centrale de Nantes (FR) laboratories, on a 1:40 scale model of the platform.

The second experiment will be carried out near the NOEL laboratory, using a 1:15 scale prototype. At the end of the experiment, which will last seven months, the prototype will be removed. All the results obtained will be used to obtain the information necessary for the technical, economic and social feasibility study of the proposed innovative platform. The aero-hydro prototype was built by FINCOSITsrl in the Ancona plant and transported by Coromandel pontoon, of its own fleet, to the port of Reggio Calabria on Friday 25 February 2021.

The final launch took place on 2 March 2021, in the stretch of water in front of the NOEL laboratory on the Reggio Calabria seafront, at a distance of 80 m from the shore.

The installed prototype will allow important checks on the exploitation of wind and sea wave energy, as well as on the prototype, which will be tested in the absence of fish fauna and removed at the end of the seven-month test.

Platform in the port of Reggio Calabria

piattaforma Noel

Installation of the anchors in the section in front of the Noel Laboratory

la piattaforma installata

The platform being positioned

Laboratorio Noel

End of the installation

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