In line with North Sea Farmers' mission, “make positive climate impact with seaweed”, North Sea Farmers felt the urge to create space which would allow for businesses to test their newest innovations. After all, taking action is an essential part of making a change. The Offshore Test Site is located 12 km (6,5 N mi) off the coast of The Hague.
A permit has been issued to use 6 km2 of North Sea as test site. The OTS is divided into six plots, all plots covering 1km2. The Offshore Test Site is only available for their users, creating a safe environment to test new innovations.
Their success owes tribute to their location in The Hague, surrounded by the thriving maritime sector around Rotterdam, the world-leading horticulture sector in Westland, a large and highly skilled high-tech industry, leading Maritime research institute Marin, plant and food expertise from WUR, and engineering expertise from TU Delft as well as TNO, a renowned organization for applied research. Their central location on the Dutch coast means that whenever someone needs to monitor or test their systems offshore, they are there within 30 minutes average.
How did it start?
The team started with a single buoy in the North Sea, to see if the seaweed grew on it. "After half a year, they went out to inspect the harvest, taking along a bunch of journalists without knowing the result beforehand. It must have been very exciting, and a great relief when the result came out really positive.” Zinzi reconstructs the stories told by her colleagues, as she hadn’t joined North Sea Farmers yet at that time.
Today, North Sea Farmers has evolved into a 100+ -member sector organization, managing a 6 km2 offshore test site at 12 km off the Scheveningen shore. Partners from various industries collaborate to develop, pilot and optimise their systems, from seaweed farmers to equipment manufacturers and developers of management and monitoring systems, to researchers.