Marine-i has announced that it would like to engage with businesses without marine experience and for them to consider the fast-growing opportunity in marine technology.
Professor Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, lead partner for Marine-i, said: “Marine tech is a sector which is currently being transformed by exciting regional and global developments. Significant amongst these is the emerging opportunity for floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea. This has the potential to make Cornwall and the south west a world leader in this new form of renewable energy.
“Innovation is often driven by businesses which traditionally operate in one sector spotting an opportunity in a different field and diversifying. The marine tech sector in Cornwall and the south west has become a hotbed for innovation and is now attracting pioneering and ambitious businesses from other sectors.”
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.
Marine-i also offers its world-class expertise to businesses that are not currently operating in marine tech, but could potentially bring their skills, products and services to fuel innovation in the sector, and which have a base in Cornwall.
For example, it has been identified that the emerging floating offshore wind industry presents a significant opportunity for manufacturing and construction in the region.
Simon Cheeseman of Marine-i partner, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, said: “There will be a demand for distributed companies that can feed into the construction of primary structures such as a floating wind platform, especially companies competent in fabrication, welding and assembly, particularly in steel and aluminium. Floating platforms will require internal equipment spaces for buoyancy control systems, auxiliary equipment, heating and lighting, as well as secondary fit out work.”
One further area ripe for development is offshore energy storage, transmission and control systems. Professor Johanning explained: “The way in which energy is stored, transmitted and then integrated into the grid will be a critical factor driving the cost-effectiveness of floating offshore wind.
“One of the key challenges is the need to efficiently transmit energy across long distances. Complex and innovative solutions will need to be considered, including hybrid network approaches that incorporate H2 and innovative storage solutions.
“These new approaches will help to increase deployment of floating offshore wind by allowing a much larger capacity to connect to the grid. These innovations will also be crucial for maintaining consistency of supply and alleviating some of the effect that wind variability has on grid capacity.
“Companies developing energy storage, transmission and control products have a large opportunity to get involved in development of multiple vector onshore/offshore solutions, including power, heat, transport and other sources.”
Other businesses which have relevant experience to enter the marine tech sector include those skilled in machine learning, cyber security and autonomous systems.
Steve Jermy, CEO Of Wave Hub Ltd, which is leading the South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator, added: “We are poised to build an important new industry in the south west, which will create thousands of new jobs and also have huge export potential.”
Professor Johanning concluded: “If you think your own business may be able to bring vital skills, experience and innovative ideas that will be needed, please contact the Marine-i team to discover more about the world class RD&I support that could be available to you.”