Aude – What will be the purpose of the hyperconnected buoy, unique in the world, inaugurated in Port-La Nouvelle?

“It is from necessity that inventions are born”. With this proverb borrowed from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the creators of the OCG-DATA buoy have summed up the purpose of this UFO, an unidentified floating object, which will testify to life on and under the water of Mare Nostrum at the very place where the future floating wind turbines will be installed.

This Tuesday, January 24, in Port-La Nouvelle, science may have taken a step. The President of the Region, Carole Delga, and above all a duo of designers, Dominique Roddier and Christian Cermelli, inaugurated a hyperconnected floating object, in particular via the Starlink satellite network, from the SpaceX company of Elon Musk, the creator of Tesla.

This project was born in a garage in California when the design duo wanted to imagine a technological witness to what is happening on the water, under water and in the air, in real time, in order to take into account issues related to biodiversity, global warming and sustainable fishing.

An invention in a California garage

These hyperactive people invented OCG-DATA, a buoy fifteen meters high and thirty meters wide. They then created a Franco-American company called Ocergy. It looks like a spacecraft, except that it is at sea that the Ofni in question, which will be launched 30 kilometers from the coast, will do its job. Underwater cameras, submerged sound sensors, photo and video traps to witness the passage of birds day and night, but also “biohut” cages to witness the possible renewal of fish under the structure, to which are added sonars, a wave recorder.

The data will be returned in near real time and will be used for the benefit of everyone, operators of experimental then industrial floating wind turbines, but also professional fishermen who will also be involved via “experimental fishing” in the sector concerned. Also for the benefit of the Gulf of Lion Marine Park, which is necessarily hungry for this type of data.

Have a reconciliation of all the activities of the sea

Carole Delga, “godmother” of this unique innovation in the world, welcomed the challenges. And especially the fact that the OCG-DATA will largely serve the essential challenges of renewable natural energies and more precisely of floating wind power. All this from the perspective of energy sovereignty. She recalled the challenges of the “Narbonne Pact” in 2018. Challenges for employment, for research, for industry, for the scientific community and for the academic world, the UPVD of Perpignan being a stakeholder. And also for fishing: “I will not recall the hundreds of millions of euros mobilized by the Occitanie region in favor of the sector, nor all the measures that we are taking so that our fishermen can continue to exercise and have resources. It is because we are concerned about having a reconciliation of all the activities of the sea that we invest”.

We want it to be rewarding, emancipating and fulfilling work

It is therefore in a context where energy and food sovereignty are at the heart of concerns in Europe that Carole Delga wishes to affirm “the Region’s commitment, which is not neutral with regard to geopolitical issues”. What was announced, in terms of investment and employment as regards the extension of the port of La Nouvelle, “was not Gascons promises”despite its origins. “We want it to be remunerative, emancipatory and fulfilling work. We must increase our strengths tenfold so that our children can have a viable planet. I do not believe in rupture, but in a policy of unity. To take up climate issues and of social justice”added the President of the Region.

The State, via the Environment and Energy Management Agency, which financed up to 1.3 M €, so half of this single buoy, endorses this discourse. And via the assembly on the terminal, which will be dedicated to future floating wind turbines, the “heavy quay”, created for this purpose, had its first in situ and successful experience for a reduced-size structure.

An innovation that mobilized delegations from Norway, the United Kingdom and even Japan.

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