The UNITED project provides evidence by means of pilot demonstrators that the development of multi-use platforms or co-location of different activities in a marine and ocean space is a viable approach (economically, socially and environmentally) for European maritime industry and local ecosystems. The economic and environmental benefits of multiple use of the marine and ocean space include the possibility of increasing resource efficiency by sharing infrastructure and logistics. However, the practicability of multiple use depends on a variety of factors, which the UNITED project is seeking to address through five pillars: Technology, economy, environment, society and legal/policy/governance/.
The UNITED activities will be based in five real-life ocean multi-use pilot sites, where different combinations of activities are already being carried out or are currently at the implementation stage:
- German pilot – offshore wind farm, cultivation of blue mussels and seaweed
- Dutch pilot – offshore wind farm, floating solar and seaweed cultivation
- Belgian pilot – offshore wind farm, cultivation of flat oysters and seaweed, and restoration of oyster ecosystems
- Danish pilot – offshore wind farm and visits to wind turbines (tourists, technicians from the sectors, etc.)
- Greek pilot – aquaculture (fisheries) and leisure scuba diving.
The role of Ecologic Institute
Ecologic Institute leads the work around the economic pillar. A framework will be developed to determine the economic value added of multiple uses of marine and ocean space in the different pilots. Indicators for financial aspects, socio-economic impacts and ecosystem services will be developed and applied. In addition, the adaptation and further development of the business models will be accompanied by pilot projects to market maturity. Furthermore, Ecologic Institute supports the work in the environmental pillar, in particular with respect to the assessment of environmental impacts in the pilots, as well as the resulting ecosystem services.