In Taiwan, scientists hope to develop coral reefs at the wind turbines’ base

Orsted, a Danish energy company, aims to experiment with growing corals on the bases of the offshore wind turbines to check if the process can be scaled up. The proposal will be tested in “the tropical waters of Taiwan,” in collaboration with Taiwanese partners. The announcement this week is the next step forward in the company’s ReCoral effort, which began in 2018.

ReCoral participants were able to raise young corals at a quayside location last year. These were grown on “underwater steel and concrete substrates,” according to Orsted. The Greater Changhua 1 Offshore Wind Farm, a huge facility 22 to 37 miles (35 to 60 kilometers) off Taiwan’s coast, will host proof-of-concept experiments in June 2022, with the goal of settling larvae and subsequently growing corals. On four foundations, the project will utilize 1-meter squared spaces.

Orsted stated the project’s goals are to “establish if corals can be effectively grown on the offshore wind turbine bases and to assess the potential beneficial biodiversity effect of ramping up the initiative,” in a statement released.

Coral reefs have a crucial function in the natural world, in addition to their vibrant beauty. Around a quarter of the ocean’s fish depend on healthy coral reefs, as per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “In the various nooks and crannies made by corals, fish and other species shelter, locate food, reproduce, as well as rear their young,” the US agency claims.

Coral reefs are a food source and “new medicines,” according to NOAA, and they defend coasts from erosion and storms while also giving jobs to local populations. Despite their importance, coral reefs face numerous dangers, including coral bleaching. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which governs the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, reported a fourth mass bleaching incident in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in March.

According to a 2017 datasheet from the GBRMPA, bleaching occurs when corals get stressed and lose relatively small photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, leading to starvation. “As zooxanthellae depart the corals, the corals grow whiter and more transparent,” the paper explains. The most prevalent cause of bleaching, according to the authority’s brief, is “sustained heat stress, that is happening more often as the climate changes and the oceans become warmer.”

Corals can recover after bleaching if conditions improve, but they will perish if they do not. On its side, Orsted claims that ocean temperatures in wind farms farther from the coast are more stable, with “extreme temperature spikes” averted by “vertical mixing in the water column.” The ReCoral project’s overall goal is to keep water temperatures stable, reducing the risk of coral bleaching and allowing healthy coral development on turbine foundations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *