20. December 2019 | Press releases:

How Mussels, Algae and Co. Load Structures in the Sea 4.8 million euros for the "EnviSim4Mare" research association of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

Surfaces under water are quickly colonised by organisms. The EnviSim4Mare research project is investigating how the growth of mussels, algae and other small marine organisms influences the carrying capacity of offshore wind turbines and other maritime structures. A new large-scale research facility suitable for salt water is being built at the Leichtweiß-Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources at the Technische Universität Braunschweig.

For the first time, living marine growth will be investigated in the laboratory of the Leichtweiß-Institut at the TU Braunschweig. The prerequisite for this is the construction of a large research facility suitable for salt water with a wave and current flume. At around four million euros, a large part of the total funding amount is accounted for by the sub-project at the Leichtweiß Institute. The 32 meter long and three meter wide test facility will be equipped with two wave generators, a current generator and a water treatment system. It ensures a sufficiently good water quality by controlling the temperature, salt content and pH value. This creates the best conditions for living marine organisms.

“Through the use of state-of-the-art measurement technology, this facility gives us for the first time a precise insight into the actual processes that take place in the environment of marine growth. In future, we will be able to carry out even more systematic experimental investigations,” says Professor Nils Goseberg, spokesman for the EnviSim4Mare consortium at TU Braunschweig.

In a first step of the research project, test specimens will be deployed at various locations in the North Sea around Helgoland and Nordergründe. Within the next two years, algae, barnacles, mussels, among other species will settle on these sites. While the Alfred Wegener Institute is in charge of the biological aspects of the project, the Leichtweiß-Institute is simultaneously building the new saltwater wave and current flume. In the third and final year of the project, the colonized test bodies will be examined in the completed research facility in Braunschweig.

The central research question is how marine growth affects the flow behaviour around the test bodies and the resulting load on the supporting structures of offshore wind turbines. At the same time, two engineering offices are developing software to transfer the research results directly into engineering practice. The consortium of research and industry aims at lower costs for power generation as well as more efficient construction and maintenance costs.

In addition to the Leichtweiß Institute, the research network includes the work group of Professor Bela H. Buck at Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven and the two companies Jörss-Blunck-Ordemann GmbH and Ocean Breeze Energy GmbH & Co. KG and other associated industrial partners and authorities.

EnviSim4Mare is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) for three years starting on December 1, 2019. The Leichtweiß-Institut of the TU Braunschweig, Division of Hydromechanics, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, will receive around 4 million euros from the total funding amount in the sub-project.