Scandinavian Clusters Share Experiences
Increased collaboration across borders and between our clusters were some of the themes discussed when we joined the Annual Conference by OffshoreVäst in Sweden.
OffshoreVäst is a cluster hosted by RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden.
Their about 80 cluster members are mainly located in the Gothenburg region of the Swedish west coast and span from small one-man start-ups to larger companies with international operations.
In many ways we operate like a smaller version of GCE Ocean Technology. We facilitate new collaborations and when needed allocate possible financing for development projects, Erik Bunis, Process Manager at OffshoreVäst.
Trond Strømgren, Ocean Technology Innovator at GCE Ocean Technology presented our cluster at the OffshoreVäst Annual Conference this year where the theme was; “From Innovation to International Business”. Strømgren also discussed the potential of future collaboration with the cluster representatives.
So, what is Sweden doing within renewable ocean energy? Here is some of what we learnt:
Marine Research and Innovation Centre
For some years now, test and demonstration possibilities have been developed linked to Kristinebergs Center outside Lysekil.
The test site Skagerrak offer businesses and researchers a developed and well-equipped land base with access to both sheltered and off-shore natural test sites on the Swedish west coast. The site is a good first-step location for testing wave devices before more hard testing in for example Norwegian or Orkney waters but also to test new materials, antifouling, underwater technology, sensors, aquaculture etc. in lab scale as well as in field tests.
Marine Energy in Sweden
The potential of wave energy is vast around the world. During the recent decades several Swedish businesses have developed devices for utilising wave power. Different technologies have been tested in harsh waters, like in Orkney and Norway.
Some of the concepts are now approaching the commercial market, aiming to serve energy to offshore installations, island communities and for land-based use by connection to regional grids. Swedish companies like Corepower, Minesto, Waves4Power and Eco Wave Power are among the wave and ocean current power players. There are also Swedish businesses approaching the stage of commercialising devices for harvesting energy from tidal currents and slow flowing rivers.
Smart Ocean Europe Concept
During the networking activities at the OffshoreVäst conference it was brought to the stage that both Sweden and Portugal are running Smart Ocean programmes like our cluster in Norway also does, though contents and actions are a bit different. The aim with such programmes is to initiate active collaboration between R&D and businesses in order to develop products and services within the ocean space.
Martin Sjöberg from Kristineberg Center brought up an idea: – Why don’t these three programmes collaborate under a Smart Ocean Europe umbrella? Collaboration must be based on the diversity of the programmes. In total a Smart Ocean Europe concept can strengthen the global position for European ocean businesses and R&D, stated Sjöberg.
The idea will now be presented to the programme owners to follow up.
The UN has appointed 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development:
– We are all dependent on a good marine environment, e.g. for food production, development of new materials, climate control and oxygen production, but also for maritime transport and recreation. Let us therefore jointly contribute our knowledge and experience, for both technical and biological development and innovation, said Kerstin Hindrum, Manager at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.
She sees great opportunities in increased cooperation between Sweden and Norway with a focus on the ocean.
GCE Ocean Technology will dive in to the potential opportunities that surfaced at this conference to seek out grounds for future collaboration.
RISE is Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner owned by the state.
As a result of merging several institutes, RISE has more than 2800 employees actively working in a broad spectrum of future development areas.
Learn more about RISE.