Two centres will provide resources and testing facilities to firms in the Bergen region. (Photo © Norsk Havbrukssenter, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Two new catapult centres are being established in the Bergen region, which could bring exciting new possibilities for the area's maritime businesses.
The centres, which are being funded by SIVA’s national Norwegian Catapult programme, will make millions of kroners’ worth of testing facilities available to the region’s ocean industries.
The initiative is particularly focused on firms that are working on innovative products and services, helping them bridge the gap between concept and commercialization.
The Ocean Innovation Catapult (OIC) will support innovation within the renewable energy, oil and gas, and fish farming sectors, as well as exploration of the seabed.
Meanwhile, the Sustainable Maritime Norwegian Catapult Centre (SMNCC) will help with the development of smart and green energy systems, both for the shipping industry and for land‑based businesses.
Both centres will aim to stimulate partnerships between different marine industries, in the hope of fostering new tools and working methods that are both high-tech and sustainable.
The SMNCC will help firms that are working on new, clean technology for the shipping industry.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be underway,” says Hege Økland, CEO of the NCE Maritime CleanTech business cluster, which is leading the SMNCC.
“We, along with SIVA, are focused on getting started as soon as possible, and we are on track to begin offering testing, simulation and visualization services in just a few months’ time.”
The SMNCC, which is supported by a range of public sector and industry bodies, has already established an interim board and has at the end of August finalized its first project plan.
Meanwhile, the OIC is concentrating on establishing its own testing facilities, with the particular aim of encouraging crossovers between different marine sectors.
SIVA, which runs the Norwegian Catapult programme, has announced around 40 million NOK in support of the first phase of the OIC catapult. The OIC’s total budget stands at around 84 million NOK.
Together, the organizations and companies within the OIC consortium already have a test infrastructure worth more than 1 billion NOK.
The OIC will focus on helping small‑ to medium‑sized businesses in the following areas:
- efficiency of the petroleum sector
- sustainable growth in marine food production through new and environmentally friendly farming technology
- growth in marine renewable energy - floating ocean waves, tidal and wave power
- cost-effective methods for mapping and recovery of new marine resources such as marine minerals, bioprospecting and geothermal energy
The SMNCC catapult will be based in the Stord district of Hordaland, and is supported by the NCE Maritime CleanTech cluster together with the Norwegian Marine & Energy Complex, The Switch Marine Drives Norway, UNITECH, as well as research partners including the University of Bergen.
The OIC is set to be located at the Marineholmen research park in Bergen, with the consortium including Marineholmen, the Bergen Technology Transfer office (BTO), GCE Subsea, NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster, Prototech, the University of Bergen’s Industrial and Aquatic Laboratory (ILAB), and DNV GL.