Scottish wave and tidal energy experts at the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre are helping to build a similar sea-trials test-bed centre in China.
Supported by the British government and the China Britain Business Council, the Prosperity Fund project to help progress policy support in China towards developing a demonstration site to facilitate innovation in wave and tidal energy has been set up.
The project involves EMEC providing feasibility studies around the creation of a Chinese marine energy centre facility as part of a brand new £200 million marine laboratory campus in Shandong Province, China.
As China’s energy experts and academics turn their attention towards the global potential for marine renewable energy, they invited EMEC and other UK industry experts to visit their developing ‘blue silicon valley’ in Qingdao, to explore the creation of a Chinese version of EMEC.
China’s Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology will serve as the base for the project, drawing researchers from a number of Chinese universities. An ocean energy demonstration site has already been identified as a key aspect of the lab’s innovation activities.
Following an initial workshop in Orkney last year, Neil Kermode, EMEC Managing Director, visited the new Chinese lab in Qingdao earlier this month to take part in a follow-up workshop.
He said: “EMEC has more than a decade of experience in the design, build and operation of its marine energy test facilities in Orkney – with more wave and tidal devices having been tested at EMEC than anywhere else in the world (27 devices from 17 companies from nine different countries).
“This important R&D activity has created a UK-wide boost to innovation in the maritime economy supply chain which is world-leading and already exporting its knowledge and expertise.
“The maritime capabilities in and around Qingdao are astonishing, and China has a very strong stance on tackling climate change. Combined, this makes marine energy an interesting and important endeavour for their researchers. We met several academics who are already developing technologies and the new laboratory campus in Qingdao gives them a perfect base from which to progress their innovations.
“We’ve been met with a real appetite in China to learn from the experience gained over the last decade at EMEC, and we’re keen to continue building collaborative R&D and innovation links between the UK and China to help drive the development of ocean energy on a global scale.”
James Brodie, Director of Energy at the China Britain Business Council, said: “With the inclusion of marine energy in China’s 13th Five Year Plan, it’s an emerging sector that the country would clearly like to see developed rapidly.
“As the world leader in marine energy, the UK is in a fantastic position to support and benefit from this development by engaging at an early but crucial stage.”