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Five Portuguese institutions join efforts to boost open sea tests of ocean technologies

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Five Portuguese institutions – CEiiA, +ATLANTIC CoLAB, Fórum Oceano, INESC TEC, and WavEC – have decided to take a decisive step in the joint effort they started in 2020, and have come together to create OceanACT, a 100% Portuguese consortium that aims to promote the testing of innovative ocean technologies in Portugal.

The main objective of this Consortium is to create the OceanACT-Atlantic Lab for Future Technologies, a development, test, demonstration, and qualification centre for technologically innovative services and products within the framework of the Blue Economy, which will be responsible for managing and boosting the offshore demonstration infrastructures available in the country.

The creation of the OceanACT Consortium, in July this year, reinforces the commitment of the five founding institutions to turn Portugal into a reference point for testing ocean technologies, a fundamental and decisive step in the development of scientific research infrastructures and the optimization of their performance. The initiative will allow the Aguçadoura test site and the Viana do Castelo pilot zone to be articulated to other infrastructures for testing marine robotics, telecommunications, and detection technologies for monitoring and operation activities in the ocean environment.

António Sarmento, President of WavEC and Chief of the OceanACT Consortium, highlights the importance of having an institution that focuses efforts in creating in Portugal a strategic and globally recognized point in the development of highly innovative ocean technologies: “The ocean will be the new frontier of knowledge and economy in the 21st century and this requires the development, testing and validation of a wide range of technologies and suppliers. Several European initiatives to create networks of oceanic test centres point in that direction. Portugal must be at the forefront of this movement and thus help the national value chain to anticipate its possible supplies, the development of industrial property, and the creation of qualified jobs. OceanACT has this ambition and will be an entity open to other partners who identify with the project”. The Consortium will thus foster the operationalisation and updating of existing test infrastructures, leveraging the attraction of demonstration projects in these facilities, the offer of associated services, and the articulation of access mechanisms to the infrastructures with the competent administrations.

Portugal has hosted the tests of several innovative ocean renewable energy technologies, such as the Pico Island wave energy plant, the Archimedes Waveswing – AWS, the Pelamis, the WindFloat prototype, and the Waveroller. Soon, CorPower’s HiWave-5 wave energy demonstration project will also be implemented in Aguçadoura, a test site that has hosted several tests in the wave energy area, and currently, the WindFloat Atlantic Park is installed in the Viana do Castelo pilot zone.

Through the development of areas such as marine renewable energies and ocean observation, the Blue Economy represents more and more a relevant role in the dynamization of the Portuguese economy. However, there is still a great potential for the development and demonstration of ocean technologies, not only for energy production, but also for offshore aquaculture and support systems like autonomous underwater robotic systems for inspection, operation, or maintenance.

Currently, processes of administrative nature are underway, and the Consortium’s goal is to establish the OceanACT legal entity in 2022, and for the development and testing centre to start its activities in 2023.

About +ATLANTIC CoLAB
CoLAB +ATLANTIC is a not-for-profit association of companies and entities of the Portuguese scientific and technological system that aims to develop knowledge about the interactions between the ocean, the atmosphere, the climate, and the energy in the Atlantic through an integrated approach “from deep sea to space”. The +ATLANTIC intends to promote synergies between the scientific community, the academia and the industry in the promotion of highly qualified employment and the creation of services/solutions of high added value for the Blue Economy, contributing to the full realisation of the ocean’s potential for society. The multidisciplinary +ATLANTIC team includes, among others, skills in numerical modelling, oceanography, remote sensing, data science, artificial intelligence and space, and energy technology. Find out more at https://colabatlantic.com/.

About CEIIA
CEiiA is an innovation and engineering centre that designs, develops, and operates innovative products in the mobility – automotive and urban mobility – aeronautics, sea and space industries. Working in cooperation with companies, universities and other R&D&I centres, CEiiA has a team of around 300 people, mostly highly qualified engineers and designers who work together with the most advanced technologies in an “engineering of creativity” environment to materialize new and competitive products and solutions. Find out more in https://ceiia.com.

About Fórum Oceano
Fórum Oceano – Associação da Economia do Mar is a non-profit private legal entity, which aims to promote the development of the Blue Economy. Fórum Oceano is the managing entity of the Competitiveness Cluster Page 3 of 6 “Cluster of the Portuguese Sea”, recognized by the Government of Portugal, and is dedicated to strengthening the dynamics of strategic cooperation between different sectors – companies, RTD centres, higher education institutions, Public Administration institutions – and to promoting the competitiveness of the main value chains that use the Sea and the marine resources as central elements of their activity, contributing, in a sustainable way, to economic growth, exports and employment, and to increase the relative importance of the economy of the Sea in the Portuguese economy. Forum Oceano represents 50% of the GDP of the Sea in Portugal, with about 125 members from the various sectors of activity of the economy of the Sea. Find out more in http://forumoceano.pt.

About INESC TEC
INESC TEC is a private non-profit institution with public utility status, which focuses on scientific research and technological development activities, technology transfer, advanced consulting and training, and preincubation of new technology-based companies. As an interface institution, INESC TEC brings together academia, business, public administration, and society, applying knowledge and results generated in technology transfer research projects, seeking to create value and immediate social relevance. In its orientation towards market impact, the institution addresses several domains in a structured way, highlighting, in this context, sea and energy. Find out more in https://www.inesctec.pt/en.

About WavEC Offshore Renewables
WavEC Offshore Renewables is a private non-profit association, established in 2003, dedicated to consultancy, engineering, and R&D activities in the field of marine renewable energy, offshore aquaculture, and special engineering solutions. Find out more in https://www.wavec.org/en/.

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