Orsted promotes plans to grow coral on wind turbines

Besides their natural beauty, coral reefs play an important role in the natural world. About a quarter of ocean fish live on healthy coral reefs, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Reinhard Dirscherl | Ulstein Bild | Getty Images

Danish energy company Orsted intends to test growing coral on the foundations of offshore wind turbines to see if the method can be implemented on a larger scale in the coming years.

In cooperation with Taiwanese partners, the concept will be tested in the “tropical waters of Taiwan”. This week’s news represents the latest step forward in an initiative that ReCoral began working on back in 2018.

Last year, ReCoral project participants were able to grow juvenile corals at the pier. They were grown on what Orsted said was “an underwater steel and concrete substrate.”

Verification trials in June 2022 will include an attempt to house larvae and then grow corals at the Greater Changhua 1 offshore wind farm, a large facility in waters 35 to 60 kilometers off the coast of Taiwan. The project will use an area of ​​1 meter on four foundations.

In a statement on Wednesday, Orsted said the aims of the project were to “determine whether corals can be successfully grown on the foundations of offshore wind turbines and evaluate the potential positive impact of expanding the initiative on biodiversity.”

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Along with their vibrant beauty, coral reefs play an important role in the natural world.

About a quarter of ocean fish live on healthy coral reefs, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Fish and other organisms take shelter, find food, breed and raise their young in the many nooks and crannies formed by the corals,” he adds.

Not only do coral reefs provide food and what they call “new medicines,” NOAA says they protect coastlines from erosion and storms, and provide jobs for local residents.

Despite their importance, the planet’s coral reefs face a number of challenges, including coral bleaching. In March, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Australia, which manages the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, confirmed the fourth mass bleaching event since 2016.

According to the 2017 GBRMPA Fact Sheet.bleaching is what happens when corals are stressed, get rid of very small photosynthetic algae known as zooxanthellae, and starve.

“When the zooxanthellae leave the corals, the corals become paler and more translucent,” the report says.

The government fact sheet lists the most common cause of bleaching as “persistent heat stress, which is happening more and more as our climate changes and the oceans warm.”

While corals may recover from bleaching if conditions change, they may die if the situation does not improve.

For his part, Orsted says that water temperatures in wind farms further offshore can provide more stability, and “extreme temperature rise” is prevented by what he describes as “vertical mixing in the water column.”

The main idea behind the ReCoral project is that this water temperature stability will reduce the chances of coral bleaching by ensuring healthy coral growth at the bases of the turbines.

The interaction of wind turbines with the natural world, whether on the high seas or on land, including marine life or bird life, is likely to be a subject of considerable debate and debate in the future.

In April, the US Department of Justice announced that a firm called ESI Energy Inc. “pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the MBTA” or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

More broadly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration has said that some wind projects and turbines have the potential to kill bats and birds.

“These deaths may contribute to the decline in the population of species also affected by other impacts associated with human activities,” the report says.

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