It’s no secret that sea levels are rising and land is becoming even more scarce. This is particularly sobering in the Netherlands, where two-thirds of the country dips below sea level. Fortunately, Dutch engineers are already developing solutions – including a “floating mega-island” comprised of 87 triangular platforms tethered to the ocean floor.
Engineers from the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) revealed the prototype of the design in a bid to entice investors. The floating island concept, which is made up of triangles composed of wood and polystyrene, was tested out in a water tank, complete with simulated wind and waves.
MARIN’s goal for the future is to see the floating islands grow to 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. The space will be large enough for a city-sized settlement of homes, farms, parks, recreational areas, and ports. As IFLScience reports, it would also be an ideal setting for sustainable energy projects that require access to the sea. Offshore wind farms, tidal energy, wave energy and floating solar panels would power the mega island.
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Olaf Waals, project manager and designer of the concept at MARIN, said in a statement, “In a time of rising sea levels, overpopulated cities, and an increasing number of activities at sea, raising dikes and spraying of sand may not be the most effective solution. Floating ports and cities are an innovative alternative that fits the Dutch maritime tradition.”
Though there are numerous obstacles to developing the floating island concept, Waals told AFP News Agency that both he and the Institute are confident the project will be feasible — as well as necessary — within the next 10 to 20 years. Waals told the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf that faced with rising sea levels and a lack of space, “the Netherlands will have to divert back towards the water.”
Images via MARIN