A multi-million pound National Subsea Centre (NSC) officially opened its doors for the first time in Aberdeen today as the city seeks to capitalise on the global underwater economy.
The new facility was launched with support of Scottish Government energy secretary Michael Matheson and UK Scotland Office minister Malcolm Offord.
With the global underwater economy expected to balloon from £8bn (as of last year) to £35bn by 2035, the facility is designed to carry out crucial research in areas including subsea engineering, artificial intelligence, data science, and integrated energy.
The ministers joined industry and civic leaders to celebrate the launch of thecentre delivered in partnership between Robert Gordon University and Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
What is the facility for?
The NSC focuses on three strategic research programmes: Transparent Ocean, Integrated Energy and Marine Operations.
The Dyce facility is already working with the NZTC on a number of projects, including the ‘SeaSense’ project which will develop technology that allows remotely operated vehicles to work in harsh environments with low visibility.
The two centres are also working together on the NZTC’s ‘Data for Net Zero’ project which aims to deliver the world’s first Smart Energy Basin by using an integrated suite of data science, visualisation and modelling tools.
Professor John McCall, NSC director, said: “We’re delighted to have welcomed our partners and key stakeholders to the official inauguration of the centre today to showcase the hugely impactful research our teams are doing.
“We already have an embedded culture of enthusiasm and curiosity at the centre, and we use this to drive the development of smart digital and engineering technologies to enable a faster, more cost-effective and sustainable transition to a net zero energy basin, both locally in the North Sea, and globally in other offshore energy environments.”
Mr Matheson helped open the centre, just a day after launching the Scottish Government energy strategy, blasted as a “betrayal” of Aberdeen’s oil and gas industry by business leaders.
The Scottish Government said the new strategy aims to accelerate Scotland towards net zero, something that the centre aims to assist with.
Mr Matheson said: “In publishing our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan this week, we have set out a vision for our energy sector in a net zero Scotland.
“We have put the Aberdeen region at the heart of this transition, ensuring it is just and fair, and makes the most of the skills and experience that have been built over the past five decades.
“The National Subsea Centre can be a tremendous asset to make this vision a reality.
“It is also another important milestone in the Aberdeen City Region Deal, embodying the collaborative ethos required both to successfully deliver our National Strategy for Economic Transformation and deliver a just transition to net zero.”
Commenting on the NSC opening, on the other side of the political aisle, Minister Offord said: “The North East of Scotland has a wealth of skills and infrastructure and with investment in new technologies it will lead the transition to the secure, sustainable net-zero energy industry our country needs.”
Colette Cohen, chief executive of the Net Zero Technology Centre, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Robert Gordon University to establish the National Subsea Centre.
“This collaboration reinforces Aberdeen’s position as a leader in subsea and will accelerate the research into and deployment of new technologies to tackle subsea engineering challenges, moving Scotland and our sector closer towards its net zero targets.”