(Text by Stian Backe, Energy lab, University of Bergen)

On November 16th 2016, NCE Maritime CleanTech arranged a presentation of future development within marine industries as a part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Bergen. Three companies put forward interesting ideas and concepts concerning possible coming changes within their sector.

From left: Per Arne Moldøen, Fredrik Borøy and Bernt Skeie.

NCE Maritime CleanTech is a cluster of about 60 businesses cooperating for clean technological solutions within marine industries. The cluster spans all areas and interests within the marine sector. During GWE, three companies part of NCE Maritime CleanTech were represented: Wärtsilä, Lloyd’s Register and CMR Prototech.

Few regulations on emissions exist within the marine industries. Yet major parts of the interconnected world’s emissions are being made in this sector through shipping and offshore businesses. Project manager in NCE Maritime CleanTech Nils Aadland introduced the cluster and its possibilities to produce technological solutions for a cleaner industry. By working together, the different businesses can all contribute in the development and realization of sustainable solutions. Among the cluster’s big achievements is the development and launch of the world’s first electrical car-ferry Ampere in early 2015.

Representing Wärtsilä, Per Arne Moldøen put light on significant changes happening within fuelling marine vessels. Claiming the future to be electric, Moldøen suggested changes on how to power new marine engines. Inspired by the development in the car industry, future marine vessels will be partially or completely electrically powered. Some of these engines run on either natural gas or hydrogen.

Marine fuel is not the only part of the marine sector where development is being made. Fredrik Borøy from Lloyd’s Register talked about their collaborating research project MAXCMAS (MAchine eXecutable Collision regulations for Marine Autonomous Systems). This project seeks to realize autonomous marine transportation systems that can fully function under international regulations for preventing collisions. Alternatives for marine autonomous service are also being investigated. This includes underwater robots and advanced drones for inspection and maintenance at sea where human access is restricted.

Another field of development is alternative powering of offshore oil and gas platforms. Almost all emissions happening on these platforms are related to the power production by gas turbines. Bernt Skeie presented CMR Prototech’s project called Clean Highly Efficient Offshore Power (CHEOP). Power production is done through oxide fuel cells, and the system can be fuelled by hydrogen produced from renewable energy.

An ever growing risk within all industries today is that change is happening faster than projects are being realized. Pointing at examples of companies like Nokia and Kodak, Per Arne Moldøen from Wärtsilä emphasized the importance of recognizing successful technologies that might replace and disrupt existing business models.