Australia Funds World-First Offshore Blue Economy Platform
The Australian government is providing A$329 million ($236 million) for research into Australia’s blue economy.
The University of Tasmania will lead the largest-ever Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), the Launceston-based Blue Economy CRC, bringing together expertise in seafood, renewable energy and offshore engineering. The 10-year collaboration will involve 45 national and international partners from industry, research and government and will support a research community of 50 PhD students and 50 postdoctoral research fellows.
“Australia has the world’s third-largest exclusive economic zone and is positioned adjacent to the largest markets for seafood and energy,” said Blue Economy CRC research director, Associate Professor Irene Penesis. “But with more than 80 percent classified as offshore, industries must be enabled to move from the coast zone into more exposed operating environments before we can secure this major opportunity for the nation.”
The focus of the first five years of the program will be developing and testing new offshore aquaculture and renewable energy technologies, which will then be brought together on a single platform to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of co-location.
“The offshore research platform will act as a living laboratory where we can vertically integrate renewable energy and aquaculture technologies with other engineering activities, such as autonomous and remotely-operated vehicles, in a proof of concept for how we could operate in the future,” Penesis said.
It will be the first offshore research platform of its kind in the world.
The CRC is expected to generate more than A$4 billion ($3 billion) for the Australian economy.