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Eolmed: With the christening of the Eolbio buoy, Qair launches a program to study the biofouling of the future wind farm floats

Port-La Nouvelle, France, December 10, 2021 – Qair, an independent producer of exclusively renewable energy, announces the naming of the experimental buoy Eolbio as part of its EolMed floating offshore wind project.

This program is the result of a partnership between Qair and the CRIOBE laboratory of the University of Perpignan Via Domitia, the Computer Science and Systems Laboratory (LIS) of the University of Toulon, the CNRS, the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) as well as private companies Marepolis and Biodiv-Wind.

An original program to study the colonization of wind turbine floats

Funded by French energy transition agency ADEME and accredited by Pôle Mer Méditerranée, the Eolbio program aims to increase knowledge of the biocolonisation dynamics  of the wind turbine floats to be deployed for the Eolmed wind farm, off Gruissan, France.

Equipped with solar photovoltaic panels coupled to a battery, the Eolbio buoy will help understand how marine ecosystems will benefit from the availability of future habitats and resources fixed on the floats.

Eolbio is the culmination of two years of work leading to the mathematical modeling of the local food chain in the laboratory. The program marks an important step, that of the field experimentation aiming at collecting biomass data in situ (colonisation speed, mass, present species, etc.). This data will be collected on metal panels called substrate panels, identical to the structure of the future Eolmed floats and placed under the buoy at various depths and directions.

Monitoring and data collection on site will be ensured thanks to the assistance of fishing vessels under the coordination of the Occitania CRPMEM.

A more thorough environmental monitoring of the area granted to Eolmed

Qair also intends to take advantage of this program to expand the mission of the Eolbio buoy in order to extend the scope of its environmental monitoring in the area conceded for the EolMed pilot farm. In this context :

  • Biodiv-Wind will equip the buoy with its birdwatching systems by cameras, whose recordings will allow to further increase the knowledge of the species that frequent the site;
  • Marepolis and the CRIOBE will place cameras under the water line for the observation of fish. These cameras of a new kind have the particularity of not being sensitive to dirt and thus remain operational over long periods of time;
  • The LIS of the University of Toulon will provide the project with a hydrophone for listening to marine mammals.

The hydrophone allows to observe the passage of cetaceans in the area of the buoy. The associated algorithms will identify the species, their date and duration of passage. This information will be correlated with the acoustic level of the wind turbine, to better understand its possible effect on the megafauna.

The observation of the ecosystems, and fish in particular, will give precious indications on the productivity and future richness of the environment. Fishing activities around the pilot wind farm right-of-way will be taken into account in the model.

The Eolbio buoy will be launched at the end of 2021 and will remain on its site for 3 years.

A subsidiary of Qair Group, Qair Marine is dedicated to the development of Renewable Marine Energies. It holds a majority stake in the EolMed project, a 30 MW floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Gruissan (Aude) and has contributed to the maintenance and operation of FloatGen, France’s first floating wind turbine.

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Created in 1971, the CRIOBE is, since 2013, a research and services unit of the CNRS which associates teacher-researchers, researchers and administrative and technical staff belonging to the CNRS, the EPHE and the UPVD. Its activities are carried out across multiple disciplines – ecology, genetics, chemistry – on two main geographical sites, the University of Perpignan campus in France and the field station on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia.

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About Marepolis
MAREPOLIS is an interdisciplinary consultancy specializing in coastal and marine issues in many themes such as biodiversity, genetics, fisheries, integrated management and awareness. Since 2016, MAREPOLIS is involved in several projects related to offshore renewable energy. It provides its expertise and interdisciplinary advice to the latter concerning in particular regulatory issues, interactions with professional fishing as well as monitoring of colonization by marine flora and fauna.

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About de Biodiv-Wind
Since 2015, Biodiv-Wind has been developing, marketing and operating automated devices for real-time detection and identification of fauna, in particular to reduce the impact of industrial facilities on biodiversity. Thanks to its SafeWind solution, Biodiv-Wind not only protects wildlife but also secures the productivity of nearly 250 wind turbines in 7 countries.
With Eolbio, Biodiv-Wind extends its activities to the maritime space and is proud to participate to the floating offshore wind energy adventure.

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About LIS / CNRS / Université de Toulon
LIS Laboratoire d’Informatique et Systèmes is a Joint Research Unit (UMR) under the supervision of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) attached to the Institut des sciences de l’information et de leurs interactions (INS2I), the University of Aix-Marseille (AMU) and the University of Toulon (UTLN). The Ecole Centrale de Marseille is also a partner of LIS. Its premises are located on the Saint-Jérôme and Luminy campuses in Marseille and on the campus of the University of Toulon. This laboratory gathers research activities mainly related to sections 06 and 07 of the CNRS and sections 27 and 61 of the CNU. The LIS federates more than 375 members including 190 permanent researchers and teachers and 20 IT/IATSS.


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About Qair

Qair is an independent renewable energy company developing, financing, building, and operating solar, onshore and offshore wind, hydroelectric, tidal energy, energy from waste, renewable hydrogen production and storage projects.

With more than 1 GW of capacity in operation, the group’s 600 employees are developing a portfolio pipeline of 30 GW in 20 countries across Europe, Latin America and Africa. Our ambition is to become an independent leader in responsible energy.

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