Rewilding the Ocean with Biodiversity-Enhancing Scour Protection

Offshore wind energy is gaining traction across the globe at an unprecedented rate due to a reduction in costs and potential for scale-up, but the subsea protection this development requires could have a wide impact on the marine environment.

A new era of eco-friendly subsea protection mattresses and scour protection, designed and manufactured by ARC Marine, is here to offer a solution with its patented biodiversity-enhancing designs.

Expanding Offshore Wind Energy

The subject of climate is under the spotlight like never before and countries across the world are setting ambitious renewable energy targets.

A bold goal of deploying a wind operation capable of producing 30 GW of offshore energy by 2030 was set by the Biden-Harris administration, with them stating it would be enough to power 10 million homes with clean energy, support 77,000 jobs, and spur investment throughout the supply chain.

Meanwhile, in Europe, wind as a renewable energy source is a mainstay of the EU goal to be climate-neutral by 2050, intending to reach 300 GW of offshore wind energy by then.

Fixed and floating offshore wind is one of the fastest-growing energy markets in the world and with a global scale-up in the works, we must consider the environmental impact below the ocean’s surface.

Environmental Impact of Traditional Subsea Protection

Offshore wind farms must protect their subsea structures and cables from anchors, trawl gear, as well as waves and currents which lead to scouring. However, the installation of traditional subsea protection comes with a host of unfavorable environmental impacts:

  • Biodiversity loss – construction disrupts habitat and subsea protection offers little opportunity for biodiversity to return.
  • Limited habitat capacity – due to minimal niches for marine life to inhabit.
  • High CO2 emissions – traditional scour protection is shipped large distances and concrete mattresses contain portland cement, which is responsible for 7% of global CO2 emissions.
  • Releasing plastics into the marine environment – traditional mattresses contain an average of 140 meters of plastic rope plus plastic fibers.

These are the problems solved by ARC Marine, an award-winning start-up, which specializes in accelerating reef creation through carbon neutral subsea protection that’s plastic-free, boosts biodiversity, and is so marine-friendly that it can stay beneath the waves forever.

You can find the rest of this feature in ECO Magazine’s Winter 2022 Issue—Resilient Coasts. To read more, visit: http://digital.ecomagazine.com/publication/?i=771295&p=24&view=issueViewer.

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