“The Research Council is introducing this initiative to promote value creation and restructuring by exploiting Norway’s advantages as a leading global supplier of marine technology,” says Mr. Fridtjof Unander of the Research Council of Norway. (Photo: Sverre Jarild)
“The Research Council is introducing this initiative to promote value creation and restructuring by exploiting Norway’s advantages as a leading global supplier of marine technology,” says Fridtjof Unander, Executive Director of the Research Council’s Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment. Mr Unander emphasises the importance of the potential for both knowledge and technology transfer between the maritime-based petroleum, renewable energy, shipping, fisheries and aquaculture industries.
The initiative encompasses three joint calls for proposals, all of which will provide funding for technology projects that crosscut the maritime industries with applications in the petroleum, renewable energy, fisheries and aquaculture sectors, respectively.
A call for proposals will also be issued for international cooperation on marine technology under an ERA-NET Cofund. Other calls under the MAROFF and HAVBRUK2 programmes also support the marine technology initiative.
In June an Idélab workshop based on the UK sandpit method will be held to develop new ideas that can lead to knowledge transfer between all the maritime industries.
R&D activity in a time of restructuring
“Launching R&D projects that promote cooperation and knowledge transfer between the maritime industries will enable us to utilise available industrial capacity while at the same time addressing challenges such as environmental problems facing the aquaculture industry,” continues Mr Unander.
In 2015 the Research Council and Innovation Norway commissioned a report to investigate the potential for cooperation and knowledge transfer across the blue sectors. The report, Havteknologi – potensialet for utvikling av tverrgående teknologier og teknologisk utstyr til bruk i marin, maritim og offshoresektorer (“Marine technology: potential for developing cross-cutting technologies and technological equipment for use in the marine, maritime and offshore sectors”, Norwegian language only), was drawn up by the Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute (MARINTEK) and submitted in January 2016.
“The report identifies areas where the different industries themselves see needs and opportunities to take advantage of competencies and capacity across sectors,” explains Mr Unander. “Among other things there is wide-ranging transfer potential from petroleum and maritime activities to the aquaculture industry, and from maritime applications to renewable energy applications.”
Petroleum technology could combat salmon lice
There is high demand for Norwegian salmon on the global market, but favourable prices are being offset by rising production costs. Combatting salmon lice, for instance, cost the industry an estimated NOK 5 billion in 2015 alone.
These kinds of environmental problems must be resolved if the Norwegian aquaculture industry is to continue growing. The solution lies in research and technology development, where cooperation and knowledge sharing across sectors can open up new opportunities. Technology from the offshore industry, for example, may be used to develop submersible cages as a means of avoiding salmon lice or for secure anchoring and maintenance purposes when production is moved farther out to sea as a step in addressing environmental challenges.
Repurposing petroleum solutions to renewable energy
A great deal of the expertise and technology found in the petroleum industry has valuable applications in the renewable energy industry. Many oil and gas companies have knowledge that can be used in areas such as offshore engineering, construction of wind turbine foundations, maintenance of offshore installations and related vessels, supplying components, and more.
The marine technology initiative encompasses three joint calls for proposals with a total of close to NOK 100 million in funding available for new innovation projects.