First multipurpose floating wind and aquaculture platform ready for launching

First multipurpose floating wind and aquaculture platform ready for launching

Fish production will be led by the ECOAQUA institute of the ULPGC

This Wednesday, March 13th, the members of the Consortium of the European AquaWind project, coordinated by the Regional Ministry of Universities, Science, Innovation and Culture, directed by Migdalia Machín, through the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI), visited the W2Power prototype at ASTICAN's facilities. 

The visit was attended by the Director of the Canary Islands Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI), Mr. Javier Franco Hormiga; the CEO of the Canary Islands Maritime Marine Cluster, Ms. Elba Bueno; the Director of Engineering of ENEROCEAN, Mr. Javier Fernández; the CEO of the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN), Mr. Joaquín Hernández Brito, and the director of the Aquaculture Research Group (GIA) of the University Institute of Sustainable Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (ECOAQUA) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), Mr. Juan Manuel Afonso.

Foto-VisitaJavier Franco Hormiga (ACIISI), Elba Bueno (Cluster Marino Marítimo), Javier Fernández (ENEROCEAN), Joaquín Hernández Brito (PLOCAN) and Juan Manuel Afonso (ECOAQUA) with the W2Power prototype at the ASTICAN facilities

Last week, the section of the prototype that will develop the fish production led by ECOAQUA was installed in the water sheet of the Taliarte Port (Telde), destined to R+D+i operations of the ULPGC.

During the visit, Juan Manuel Afonso, director of the GIA group, emphasized that "the EU has high hopes for this prototype to be replicable" in its territory, since up to 200,000 fish can be cultivated in its full-size cages.

"The first fish production trial will soon be carried out in the prototype cage with a model species (gilthead sea bream), which will allow us to fine-tune the device. We are focusing on fast-growing species, such as amberjack, which can reach a kilo in a year, because that is what the market demands most: fast and quality protein," he specified.


AquaWind's objective is to conduct a demonstration test of an integrated and co-located multi-purpose solution. The trial consists of the validation of an existing floating marine renewable energy production prototype to which an aquaculture production system will be integrated.

The aquaculture prototype includes a custom-designed fish cage with novel netting materials, high level of digitization and validation with fish species to be cultured. This project will perform for the first time real trials testing the integration of marine energy production with live fish aquaculture in the Atlantic region.

AquaWind joins the efforts of a multidisciplinary consortium including R&D centers, companies, SMEs, a regional authority and a maritime cluster from three EU member states (France, Spain and Portugal).

This action is 80% co-financed with more than 1 million euros by the European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure and Environment, thanks to the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, the remaining 20% corresponding to funds from the project partners themselves, where it should be noted that more than 50% are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), "which is a good indicator of the effort being made in the Canary Islands through the ACIISI to promote projects and activities of public-private collaboration and knowledge transfer in the field of regional R&D&I", said Javier Franco during the visit.

In the Canary Islands, the consortium has key entities such as PLOCAN, which in addition to providing the support of its test bench for the validation tests, will lead the work of obtaining the necessary licenses and permits for the new activity as well as the economic studies, or the ULPGC, responsible for the aquaculture system through the ECOAQUA Institute, with the support of Canexmar S.L., a company dedicated to aquaculture production and marketing. The Canary Islands Maritime Cluster also participates, which will promote the meeting and dialogue of all the social agents related to the sea.

In this sense, the director of the ACIISI, Javier Franco, specified "that a consortium led by the Canary Islands as AquaWind has been selected to develop the first multipurpose floating wind and aquaculture platform built and installed in Spain, and which has a significant participation of Canary Islands companies, the Cluster, R&D Centers such as PLOCAN and the ULPGC".? This action "reaffirms the commitment of this Government and the ACIISI to support our R&D centers so that they continue to develop the scientific and technological capabilities and human capital that contribute to the much-demanded regional economic diversification and avoid the flight of talent.

Not in vain, the ACIISI as the management center responsible for the development of the smart specialization strategy of the Canary Islands maintains and strengthens its commitment to the development of the blue economy industry common to the regional priorities in the new framework of the European operational program 2021- 2027," added Javier Franco.

On this occasion, the Consortium chose Gran Canaria for its project follow-up meeting on March 12 and 13, which was attended by the project's Project Officer, Sonia Karasavvidou, representing the European Commission who was interested in the progress of the project.

Project progress

The progress of the project was presented yesterday at the technical workshop held at the ACIISI headquarters, where the various project partners discussed the progress of the project and its milestones.

These range from the advances led by PLOCAN on the regulations and permits required for the implementation of these activities in Canary Islands waters, to the more biotechnological aspects led by the ULPGC and EnerOcean, which address the engineering solutions that allow the integration of the two large infrastructures composed of the aquaculture cage and the mill, as well as the systems associated with the sensing, monitoring and digitization of the prototype.

All this without neglecting the more biological and environmental aspects of the plan of actions and follow-ups that will be implemented for the evaluation of the environmental impact and its mitigation if necessary; as well as Consulta Europa, a Local Development Agency in charge of connecting the Canary Islands with Europe.

On the other hand, as EnerOcean's Engineering Director, Javier Fernández, indicated, the launching of EnerOcean's W2Power prototype, which has been modified according to the needs of the project, will soon take place at ASTICAN's facilities.

W2PowerW2Power prototype

Subsequently, the prototype will be taken to the PLOCAN test bed, where the engineering tests will start combining the two structures and providing the first real data of the test campaign with the aim of evaluating the behavior of the structure and the environmental impact on the surrounding maritime space. This will be supported by the complementary work of the Portuguese partners of the project, represented by the company WAVEC.

Before the start of these tests and during several months, digital twins have been modeled and generated to simulate the conditions of both structures, work that has been developed by the French partners of the company Innosea in collaboration with Enerocean and the ULPGC. No less important is the evaluation of the socio-economic dimension of the project, where the Canary Islands Maritime Marine Cluster has developed an intense work of consultations with different sectors and stakeholders in order to collect perceptions about the activity and the impact that this initiative and its commercial development can generate in the Canary Islands blue economy industry. Along the same lines, the PLOCAN team is developing an economic model that projects the profitability perspective of the multipurpose facilities.

Sources: Government of the Canary Islands and EFE agency