The “blue economy” is an opportunity for new composite materials

GreenOffshoreTech is an EU funded project with the purpose of supporting innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), fostering development of the emerging blue economy industries by enabling new cross-sectorial and cross-border value chains based on shared challenges and the deployment of key enabling technologies (KET). Its purpose is to make offshore production and transport green, cleaner and modern.

The “blue economy” is an opportunity for new composite materials

3 minutes, 0 secondes

GreenOffshoreTech will facilitate the creation of new products, processes or services with the ambition to make offshore production and transport green, clean and sustainable towards a resource-efficient economy and EU GreenDeal, while facing reindustrialisation. The project brought together 12 partners from 7 countries, which form together a consortium uniting:

  • 9 of Europe’s leading clusters and 3 inter-cluster and innovation management experts;
  • 7 countries across Europe (Norway, Portugal, Latvia, Poland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Germany);
  • a grant of 5 million euro from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

In addition to maritime clusters, the project also involves specialist networks on the topics of composites, mechatronics and recycling. The result is a powerful network that will enable SMEs to develop and promote their ideas for the maritime sector. Fibre composites can play an important role in the offshore sector. Wind turbine rotor blades are no longer conceivable without them, and they are also playing an increasingly important role in shipbuilding. In addition to lightweight construction, freedom from corrosion in particular plays a decisive role, which is especially important for plants in the offshore sector. These advantages can also be used for oil and gas platforms, as well as for fish farms. All is needed are innovative companies that develop good ideas and put them into practice. However, it is often difficult to get started, especially in industries that are characterised by a high level of safety thinking, such as the offshore industry. Here, new ideas are not simply tried out because failure is expensive and can have serious consequences.

Dr. Tjark von Reden, Chief Executive of Composites United e.V. (CU)
Dr. Tjark von Reden, Chief Executive of Composites United e.V. (CU)

“This is exactly where GreenOffshoreTech can help. It links partners from the maritime sector with their challenges with innovative SMEs that have the corresponding solutions. The project supports SMEs to further develop their ideas and to find project partners from the maritime sector as well as investors. This way, new ideas and solutions can find their way into the industry. For composites, the project offers the opportunity to gain shares in a further industry and to play out its strengths.”, says Dr. Tjark von Reden, Chief Executive of Composites United e.V. (CU), a network for fiber-based multimaterial lightweight design, emerged by the two associations Carbon Composites e. V. and CFK Valley e. V. which includes GreenOffshoreTech project partners like MAI Carbon that is also a member of the Composites United network.

At the beginning of 2023, there will be another call, in which project ideas can be submitted. The best ideas will then be selected and further promoted.

Examples of some participating companies:

The Latvian company Aerones offers robotic-enabled turbine maintenance and inspection services. The most serious defects are at first visible only internally, thereby one of the provided services is blade internal inspection that is already commercialised in onshore wind parks. Manually it is possible to inspect only the first 10% of wind turbine length, considering that it is becoming narrower to the tip. Aerones internal inspection robot is able to inspect about 70% of the blade length and does that with a high-definition camera. Through the GreenOffshoreTech project, an internal inspection robot has been prepared for application in offshore wind parks using higher capacity data acquisition technologies and high-speed satellite internet. As a result, for offshore wind parks there will be a 2.5x faster internal inspection available and on average a 36x faster data upload for processing and analysis.

Aerones internal Crawler (internal inspection robotic technology). ©aerones

Compocean AS (Norway) is an independent supplier of solutions for the onshore and offshore industry with more than 15 years of experience. To enable offshore wind turbines, effective mooring of the floating turbine at minimum cost is important. The company’s composite suction anchors can be made in a serial production process, have low transport weight, are corrosion resistant and can be re-used. Compocean suction anchor was originally developed for oil and gas applications, but GreenOffshoreTech is opening new markets within renewable energy and aquaculture and presents Compocean AS to potential investors.

Glass fibre composite suction anchor for serial production. ©Compocean
Glass fibre composite suction anchor for serial production. ©Compocean
More information www.greenoffshoretech.com