MPVAqua project wins Blue Innovation Award | Marine@Ugent

MPVAqua project wins Blue Innovation Award

Blue innovation is growing fast and will contribute significantly to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while building a new promising economic sector. The Blue Innovation Awards are an initiative of the Blue Cluster to give exposure to promising projects, products and services in the Blue Economy. 20 entries involving a total of over 50 organisations were submitted in this second edition of the awards. All applications were objectively evaluated by a jury based on their innovative character, link to the Blue Economy, market potential, international ambitions, and link with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The Blue Cluster granted a total of 4 awards: the Blue Innovation Wave award (for SMEs), the Corporate Blue Innovation Wave award (for large companies), the Blue innovation Swell award (for collaborative initiatives) and the Blue Innovation Captain award (for public authorities). The award ceremony took place on Monday 25th October 2021 at the Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Community (G-STIC) conference in Dubai. In parallel, the Blue Innovation Party was held in Antwerp, live streaming the award ceremony.


MPVAqua won the Blue Innovation Swell award. The project is a joint initiative of Ghent University (Industrial Research Fund consortium BLUEGent, the Laboratory of Aquaculture & ARC, the Maritime Technology Division and GhEnToxLab), Jan De Nul, DEME and Soltech, and is coordinated by Tractebel. The partners in this project develop large-scale offshore solar farms, combined with oyster aquaculture.


MPVAqua is a research project in which new concepts for a commercial marine floating PV are studied, monitored and tested. The biggest challenges are developing solar panel structures that can withstand high sea waves and building solar panels that are salt resistant. Additionally, research will be done on how to bring the solar energy to land and on the impact of offshore solar farms on the marine ecosystem. Synergies and compatibility between marine floating PVs and aquaculture in the marine environment will also be studied. Finally, the MPVAqua consortium aims to validate the developed concepts based on experimental testing in a controlled environment such as laboratories or a sheltered nearshore field site.


The project partners hold the ambition to be the first to establish offshore solar farms in the North Sea, possibly in five to ten years. Their intention is to integrate the offshore solar farms with offshore wind farms and aquaculture, thus doubling the energy generated by the wind farms and contributing to multi-use of space at sea.


Authors: dr. Sara Vandamme & Sara De Vos (BLUEGent)
Associated IOF business developer: dr. ir. Margriet Drouillon, MBA (BLUEGent) 
Figure ©Tractebel