Fugro to monitor offshore wind biodiversity by using eDNA samples
Dutch geo-data specialist company Fugro has launched the BeWild project, aimed at measuring biodiversity at offshore wind farms.
Fugro, together with project partners, will focus on developing methodologies and technologies for remotely collecting environmental DNA (eDNA) samples in the North Sea.
The collected data will assess the impact of offshore wind farms on biodiversity and explore ways to adapt existing infrastructure to enhance marine habitats, Fugro said.
Fugro will develop remote marine eDNA collection, analysis, and interpretation capabilities as part of its remote inspection solutions.
In addition, by integrating the eDNA sampling into its uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), Fugro said it aims to not only inspect subsea assets but also the broader subsea environment.
“By integrating ecological monitoring with routine asset inspections, wind farm operators will not only reduce the risk of possible technical failures, but broader ecological failures such as habitat loss or habitat fragmentation. This is a crucial step in safeguarding our energy resources and our natural environment”, said Daniel Smith, Fugro’s Solution Owner Offshore Wind Site Appraisal.
Support will be provided by Wageningen University which will focus on the DNA sequencing methodology of marine eDNA, researching the governance of these new forms of automated data collection to provide guidance on the design principles for the expansion of nature-inclusive wind energy infrastructures.
Additionally, Stichting de Rijke Noordzee will explore how to integrate biodiversity monitoring with regular asset inspection; Mecal – ATS will develop an improved scour protection system with the potential to enhance biodiversity; Seekable will optimise cable burial monitoring solution; and CrossWind will provide access to an operational wind farm for testing and investigations.
The BeWild project is being developed with the Mission-driven Research, Development, and Innovation (MOOI) subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, and implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).