A Danish energy company plans to grow corals on the bases of offshore wind turbines. Dubbed ReCoral, the ambitious project plans to settle larvae and then grow them on the turbines 60km offshore, where the waters are less affected by warming sea temperatures. Offshore wind farms are often blamed for disturbing the natural world but sustainable energy firm Orsted seeks to increase biodiversity around its turbines betting that once corals grow there, fish will inhabit the bases too.
How they’re going to do it
Coral spawn is collected along the shoreline where it undergoes metamorphosis in a lab to become larvae. The larvae are then settled onto a mesh, which is then attached to the bases of the steel structures.
Ørsted collaborated with the Penghu Marine Biology Research Center in Taiwan, and together they have developed a non-invasive methodology for coral seeding, in vitro fertilization, larvae transport, and larvae attachment to wind turbine foundations. Rather than removing anything from existing coral ecosystems, ReCoral’s non-invasive approach relies on the collection of surplus coral egg bundles that wash up on shorelines and would not otherwise survive.
The company aims to then one day collect spawn from corals growing on its own structures to seed other structures elsewhere.