Ravindran Pallaniappan, Program Manager, Global Research and Innovation Centre at Classnk (Singapore) and Paul Griffiths, Chairman at Ademar (Chile) describe the third theme of the call for papers.
Could you briefly explain what’s the purpose of this theme?
Ocean energy is not as matured as compared to solar and wind energy but it is proving to have a huge potential. First movers for this industry has basically been in Europe with countries like UK and France but the momentum in Asia and in the ASEAN region for instance, is just picking up. This theme encourages papers with solutions or concepts for global collaboration and to support the uptake of this industry collectively. The idea is to encourage a knowledge sharing platform for example, so that stakeholders in any part of the world would have access to information or experience shared, ranging from resource assessment to deployment know-how.
To further add and to be flexible, this theme welcomes submissions focusing on small scale marine energy collaborating or integrating with solar and wind farms on remote islands and providing solutions to remote islandic energy needs. There is a growing interest in this area especially in South East Asia and we hope to attract companies with interest in small scale tidal turbine production and integrating with solar PV farms.
Yes, I agree with Ravin on the maturity barrier but potential of marine energy, and would add that in markets where there are no feed-in tariffs, as is the case in Latin American markets, it is tough to compete with alternative non-fossil fuels such as solar and wind that are widespread in this region. However there are off-grid applications where small scale marine is viable; for example in the South of Chile there is a highly developed salmon farming industry where power consumption points are highly dispersed across fjords and islands and now being supplied with diesel-based generation; and there are isolated sea-side fishing communities that currently are supplied from diesel generation for a limited number of hours per day; and there are landmark environmentally sensitive island communities such as Easter Island and Robinson Crusoe Island, again supplied through diesel. Marine energy is already competitive versus diesel transported for thousands of kilometres. And apart from the economics, can you imagine the social impact of supplying energy 24-hours a day?
But at the end of the day marine will have to compete with other forms of non-fossil fuels in supplying to the grid. For that to happen the technology must converge and we must move down the learning curve – for that it is essential to share knowledge and we have to overcome the natural barriers that derive from trying to retain technical secrets. We look forward to contributions that propose creative ways of overcoming these barriers.
What are the issues and challenges?
The uphill task is for the existing players to share their experience or data to the other newly established parties as this might be deemed confidential since investments or stakeholders interest are involved. We do believe there are solutions to this and efforts are ongoing by some to overcome this challenges
Taking a step back, I think one of the key issues is that we have been talking about knowledge sharing for a long time – this was a highly recurrent theme in ICOE 2013 (Nova Scotia) but we have done very little about it. Yes, there have been some efforts in linking databases and making public domain data more available or easier to access, but that is not where this game is played. Those are passive networks; we need to gear up to proactive knowledge sharing communities where it simply makes good business sense to make your knowledge available to others and be compensated for that. We need to set up the business model for that, and we must create the tools. We must involve forward looking technologies such as cognitive computing that collaborates side-by-side with humans; we need to deploy virtual reality technologies that enable engineers and designers dispersed across the planet to work together on the development of a device; and we need to train those engineers and designers to work with these technologies. This would create a quantum leap for the industry, and one that would make this industry unique in the world. It would be the foundations for an outstanding professional association.
What are your expectations?
I do foresee papers from NGO’s or from academia initiating knowledge sharing platforms or with creative solutions for a more collective uptake of the industry. Companies focusing on small scale marine energy integration with solar or wind energy will provide a different perspective to the industry and believe it will be a positive one.
My expectations are that this ICOE is larger than the one we had in Edinburgh but that it maintains the high quality of contributions and the friendly atmosphere that enables strong networking and open discussions on the future of the industry.