Combining several activities such as renewable energy, aquaculture, marine bio-resources and biotechnologies, maritime transport and related services, in the same marine space, including in multi-use platforms, can serve to divide and reduce the costs of offshore operations and the demand on the space needed for different activities. Research on multi-use platforms funded under the FP7 call ‘The Oceans of Tomorrow’ has provided promising designs, technological proposals and models for combining activities in terms of economic potential and environmental impact. Horizon 2020 funded projects have helped to identify and tackle regulatory and technological barriers and develop business models to reduce the risk for operators and investors. Before reaching a stage enabling large scale installations, it is necessary to develop pilots for demonstration in a real environment of multi-use platforms or co-location of activities in a marine space with their logistic support, including service vehicles and port facilities.
Activities shall develop pilots by involving industrial actors and by integrating the available knowledge, technologies and facilities, in particular capitalising on the results of EU and national projects for the development of multi-use platforms or co-location of different activities in a marine space, and relevant support offshore vessels and autonomous vehicles. Pilots could include the reconversion/reuse of decommissioned platforms. The pilots shall aim to demonstrate in a real environment the viability (economic, social and environmental) of the multi-uses of a marine space for the output of at least two economic activities (such as renewable energy, aquaculture, marine bio-resources and biotechnologies, maritime activities and related services or tourism). The aim is to demonstrate the economic, social and environmental added-value of the multi-use of a marine space around coastal or deep sea environments and should include a business plan and a commercial economic feasibility assessment (informed by the Pilot's results), addressing possible trade-offs and costs for other sectors, for the combined activities to generate revenue. The pilots should also address health and safety issues, including for the logistics, ancillary infrastructure and maintenance services. Societal acceptance should also be integrated, especially by involving local communities. The interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial nature of the project should also apply to training activities improving the professional skills and competencies and supporting the creation of new jobs in the blue economy.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 9 million would allow this specific challenge to be adequately addressed. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
In order to contribute to the implementation of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy and its environmental pillar, the EU Blue Growth Strategy, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, the EU International Ocean Governance Communication, the EU Communication for a Sustainable European Future, the EU Bioeconomy Strategy, the EU Integrated Maritime Policy and in order to reinforce European competitiveness in the blue economy, activities shall:
In the short term:
- Starting from technology readiness level (TRL) 5, bring selected designs of multi-purpose and multi-use facilities to TRL 7, ensuring validation in the real environment.
- Improve health and safety in multi-use platforms or co-location of activities.
- Reduce costs of implementation and increase economic viability of multi-use of marine space for the European maritime industry.
- Raise societal awareness, involve local communities and secure acceptance of these new developments by society-at-large.
In the medium term:
- Improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.
- Contribute to policymaking in research, innovation and technology.
Illustration Photo: Drilling platform (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)