Press release: POM West Flanders enlists EMEC to bring blue economy test platform to market
POM West Flanders, the regional development agency for West Flanders, Belgium, has sought council from the renowned European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to aid the development of the ‘Blue Accelerator’ test platform into an international hub for blue growth.
Established in 2019, Blue Accelerator is a maritime innovation and development platform, located approximately 500 meters from the eastern breakwater of Ostend, Belgium. Operated by POM West Flanders, the platform is open to companies, knowledge institutions and research centres to demonstrate new products and technologies for the blue economy.
The Blue Accelerator platform provides a means for technologies to be tested below, above or at sea level. German wave energy developer, NEMOS GmbH, is currently testing their wave energy converter prototype on the platform.
To introduce the Blue Accelerator test platform to the blue growth market, POM West Flanders called upon the expertise of EMEC. Established in 2003, EMEC has developed and operates four marine testing facilities and green hydrogen demonstration infrastructure in Orkney, Scotland. EMEC has hosted more marine energy technologies in Orkney than anywhere else in the world.
EMEC advised POM West Flanders on business development, commercial strategy, operational guidance and financial tools to help bring the Blue Accelerator to market.
“EMEC, together with POM West Flanders, has developed a sustainable long-term business plan to operate our test platform over the next 15 years, with the goal to reach out to the whole blue industry in West Europe,” explains Sarina Motmans, Blue Energy Coordinator at POM West Flanders.
“This plan also includes a financial, commercialization and marketing strategy for the Blue Accelerator. EMEC ranks among the absolute best in the industry with over seventeen years of expertise in wave and tidal energy. By relying on the services and experiences of EMEC we got valuable insights to introduce Blue Accelerator to the market.”
Rob Flynn, EMEC’s Commercial Manager added: “With over 15 years’ experience testing technologies and components offshore, EMEC has learned how best to do things, and also what not to do. We’re happy to share these hard-won lessons with other test facilities like our friends and colleagues at POM West Flanders.
“Blue Accelerator opens up a wide range of R&D opportunities across the blue economy, from offshore energy, aquaculture and subsea tech and I’m excited to see what innovations it will generate over the coming years.”
Sarina Motmans concludes: “EMEC has been instrumental in encouraging collaboration and partnerships among marine test facilities to strengthen the marine energy sector. EMEC founded the International WaTERS (Wave and Tidal Energy Research Sites) network in 2013, bringing together open water research facilities worldwide to exchange experience and knowledge. Blue Accelerator has now joined the International WaTERS network, paving the way for the exchange of experiences and forms of new collaborations with international test facilities.”