The subsea supply chain has been given a “huge opportunity” to break into growing wave and tidal energy sectors, it has been claimed.
UK firms who have traditionally focused on helping oil and gas companies with underwater developments will now be able to link up with technology researchers and developers to adapt to the renewables market through a “matchmaking” service.
The National Subsea Research Initiative’s database will connect organisations already active in the wave and tidal energy space to collaborate, solve industrial challenges and progress research and development activity.
Dr Gordon Drummond, project director of National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI), said that the wave and tidal sectors are less mature in their contribution to energy production.
And as a result, he said, they are currently more expensive than traditional sources of power.
But this could change with by linking up the right firms with those facing the technical challenges.
Dr Drummond added: “With help from the subsea supply chain and advances in technology, both sectors have the potential to extract sustainable energy from the ocean at a low cost.
“This presents a huge opportunity for subsea supply chain companies to adapt their technologies and techniques to support the development of large-scale wave and tidal power farms.
“To help them do this, we have mapped out the technical challenges with support from industry experts to pinpoint areas where their capabilities can add significant value.”
The database is split into five themes: operations and maintenance; subsea structures; installation; systems; health and safety; and environmental impact.
NSRI claim this will allow companies to quickly identify how they can support the wave and tidal sectors by selecting their specialisms.
Dr Drummond said: “There’s no denying marine renewables has struggled to make its mark and this is partly down to the engineering challenges of operating at sea, including the mechanical stresses of the ocean and the corrosive effects of salt water.
“These are obstacles that the UK subsea industry has successfully overcome. By harnessing this world-renowned experience in offshore oil and gas engineering, we have the skills and expertise to lead the way in the tidal and wave sectors.
“We hope Matchmaker will clearly highlight exactly how subsea companies can play their part, diversify their offering and make the connections required to break into the wave and tidal market.”
NSRI will host a joint industry event in Aberdeen early next year, giving stakeholders across the sector the opportunity to discuss the challenges and possible solutions.