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Marine-i supports world class research network for marine renewable energy

Joe Bevan
Authored by Joe Bevan
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2022 - 09:51

Marine-i Programme Director, Professor Lars Johanning, welcomed delegates to the PRIMaRE conference which took place at the University of Exeter campus at Penryn on 6th and 7th July, 2022. Marine-i was one of the sponsors of this event.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.

The Partnership for Research in Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) is a network of world-class research institutions who have been set up to undertake research and development to address challenges facing the marine renewable energy industry at the regional, national and international level. Its remit covers all areas of marine renewable energy, including wave, tidal stream, tidal barrage, and offshore wind, as well as others such as offshore biomass production and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

Prof Lars Johanning said: “Marine-is pleased to support PRIMaRE, which will be an important academic research cluster aligned with the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence and give strong representation of academic research within this forum. It will support Celtic Sea Power and the fast-growing floating offshore wind industry in Cornwall and the South West, aiming to leverage and maximise the utilisation of the assets and resources in our region.”

The PRIMaRE Conference covered a wide range of issues, including innovation in the sector. The Universities of Plymouth, Exeter, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff and Bath, along with the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, have agreed to work together on research projects across the spectrum of marine renewables. Prof Johanning presented an innovative low carbon-cost choice decision tool to model the performance of Floating Offshore Wind energy farms. He said:

“The UK Government has committed to a substantial future investment in 30GW of generation in the industry, with a target to achieve 60% UK content for projects commissioning from 20230 onwards, including a commitment to increased UK manufacturing. University of Exeter has developed a tool to assess economic values and the environmental impacts of floating offshore wind farms. The assessment is based on life-cycle analyses, including five development stages: pre-development, manufacturing, assembly and installation, operations and maintenance (O&M), and decommissioning.

“The tool is designed to help stakeholders such as wind farm developers and policymakers to facilitate decision-making processes in development projects. The tool provides the flexibility and opportunity to determine what combination of manufacturing, assembly, installation, and servicing locations yields the optimal combination of low cost, low carbon, and highest energy yield. Initial findings indicate that making use of local port infrastructure and local supply chain in the South West to perform maintenance operations is competitive with globally sourced solutions, while simultaneously halving lifetime Green House Gas emissions. This is a very exciting finding for the South West economy“

The Conference also welcomed the news that Hexicon’s 32 MW TwinHub Floating Offshore Wind Project in Cornwall had been successful in Round 4 of the Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD). Hexicon secured a CfD at a strike price of GBP 87.30/MWh.

Professor Deborah Greaves, Director of the ORE Supergen Hub and Professor at the University of Plymouth, said: “The Supergen ORE Hub is particularly proud of supporting Early Career Researchers presenting their research at the PRIMaRE conference. It is essential to encourage the next generation to continue on the success of offshore renewable energy developments, preparing the next generation of technology leaders. The Government Net Zero target requires all the skill sets and the PRIMaRE conference enabled the knowledge exchange which is essential to drive forward the offshore renewable energy industry.”

Prof Johanning said: “Innovation is key to unlocking the full potential of floating offshore wind in the South West and globally. The Marine-i programme is proud to support innovative marine tech businesses in Cornwall, accelerating the commercialisation of their ideas. Meanwhile, PRIMaRE will be an important wide network of academic institutions addressing the challenges faced by the marine renewable energy sector. The challenges are immense but it is inspiring to see the ingenuity and innovation that is emerging, as businesses and academia rise to the challenge and find pioneering solutions.”

The Conference also thanked ORE Supergen for sponsoring the Best Presentation prize and congratulated Dr Jun Zang of the University of Bath, who will be taking over leadership of the PRIMaRE Conference for 2023.

Photo credit: Principle Power Inc.

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