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eForcis Report Summary

Project ID: 736343

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - eForcis (eForcis and BeForcis, Wave Energy Generators for marine buoys and devices.)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Problem being addressed

Although over 700 million euros have been invested by private companies in the development of marine energy during the last decade, this is still a raw sector with high risks and most of the projects focus on the production of high potential energy, which still has some issues to overcome. On the other hand, some sectors are seeking viable solutions (reliable and cost-effective) to face their not very elevated energy needs.
eForcis and BeForcis wave energy generators are the next stage in the development of a novel technology to harvest wave energy for the sea economic activity, especially offshore, with no intention of entering the grid. By focusing on low potential energy and the reduction of energy costs our product will reduce carbon energy consumption and contribute to more efficient and competitive maritime economic activities.

Society implications

As carbon energy resources are decreasing and climate change is threating our economy, alternative efficient sources of energy are needed. Developing a sustainable marine energy sector can create green growth and jobs, a low carbon economy –since there will be less fuel consumption from maintenance tender ships and fuel transport for fuel generators (needed nowadays to provide energy to off-shore devices) and imply less CO2 emissions.
All together has direct implications for our society as a whole, as it potentially can contribute to a sustainable and efficient green economy.

Objective of the project

The objective of this project is twofold, on one hand to analyze the techno-economic feasibility of the different eForcis and BeForcis equipment optimization routes and on the other hand to further explore the market potential of the current generators. Smalle plans to launch to the market two commercial products:
eForcis, devicefor the Data and AtoN buoys market, and;
BeForcis, an optimized version of eForcis attached to a buoy for aquaculture.
With these two elements in place, the next steps in our company strategy are to increase the TRL of our eForcis equipment to reach a marketable product working closely with key clients in the buoy sectors, and to finalise and test BeForcis technology (optimization of eForcis technology incorporating a buoy) to serve the wide aquaculture market.

The relationships developed with potential clients during the feasibility study period will ease this process. As in the eForcis case, optimization manufacturing costs and CE certification will be finally performed.
Marine aquaculture needs alternative, autonomous and reliable sources of energy, especially for small consumptions.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Work Summary
The work planned and performed for this project during the Phase 1 of the SME Instrument aimed to a) gather the necessary elements to ensure market penetration of eForcis all over the world; b) check the technological feasibility and market viability of BeForcis and; c) make an informed decision regarding which other potential sectors should be approached next. Consequently, our project includes the following three main actions, as described in the proposal presented for the Phase 1 of the SME Instrument:
→ Action 1: A potential partner and client search and a market barriers study for eForcis, regarding the marine aquaculture, Data and AtoN buoy markets. This action was performed during month 1 and 2 of the project implementation.
→ Action 2: A technological feasibility study of BeForcis combined with a market study and a potential partner search. This action was performed between month 2 and 5 of the project implementation.
→ Action 3: A study of other potential sectors where eForcis and BeForcis could be of use. This action was performed between month 3 and 5 of the project implementation.
A qualitative research has been developed to analyse existing business opportunities for Smalle, which are understood as the existence of a potential demand for the concept being developed, namely, the buoy with a system of electric power generation from the movement of the waves for the feeding of sensors and equipment used in marine activities.During this research a wide range of stakeholders and companies all around the world have been contacted, interviewed and analyzed. Furthermore, many open sources have been consulted to gather the necessary data to assess our solution business opportunity. Among them: World Bank, European Marine Observation and Data Network, FAO, European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform, Apromar.

Results overview
The implementation of the Work Planned above mentioned produced the following results:
Action 1: The results of the feasibility study have been very positive to verify the capacity of the eForcis to feed the batteries of Meteocean buoys, SMALLE initial target regarding data buoys. Considering the size of the AtoN buoys market, our company believes this niche should be approached if eForcis is mass manufactured at a cost that allow reasonable margins. A strategy for AtoN buoys segment would be to license the technology and release manufacturing process to one or more of the big and relevant players of this market, as they have well optimized manufacturing process for their buoys, which could include the mass production of the eForcis at a very competitive cost.

A contingency plan for expected market barriers has been drafted and includes the increase of potential providers, a new financial option through yearly payments and trust-building with market leaders.

Action 2: The technology feasibility study demonstrated that the current eForcis can generate enough to power the sensors of the buoys and decrease the frequency that batteries need to be changed. SMALLE has defined the basic features of the buoy that has to support the eForcis and the first BeForcis has been built. The current BeForcis first test in a real environment shown that power production required for fish farms can be achievable by increasing size of the eForcis and the supporting buoy parameters. Marine finfish aquaculture species segment represents not only the major energy consumer of the market but also the one we will look at in order to commercialize the BeForcis. In addition, although some barriers have to be overcome in order to convince the market with a new marine energy product, the trend towards a high-tech aquaculture sector widens BeForcis business opportunities.

Action 3: For SMALLE acknowledging other potential sectors besides data buoys and marine aquaculture is essential to develop a strategical business plan. Consequently, with this study we have detected that Wi-Fi and marine surveillance for touristic places, plague detection and drones for offshore windmills could be further applications for eForcis and BeForcis. Yet, they are still not mature enough today. However, the market trends show it is likely they will become feasible applications in the mid- long term. In addition, applying the eForcis technology to sailboats is also considered by our company if our device is adapted. Also, partnership with a sailboats designers and manufacturers would be needed to integrate the eForcis technology in the sailboat structure, studying possible effects on its stability.

Results exploitation and dissemination
The results of the work conducted will be used to prepare the product for commercialization.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Progress beyond state of the art
Especially regarding marine aquaculture, producers currently have few alternatives besides feed barges: having no electrical devices, have solar panels and battery systems or have their farm close enough to the shore and connect it to the grid. None of them represent a competitive solution for them, as explained in the technological feasibility study.

Consequently, SMALLE deduced that all the fish farms are searching autonomous energy sources for their sensors, cameras and others, although the ones that have feed barges to a fewer extent.

Expected potential impact
With our solution we expect that the following needs of marine aquaculture and Data and AtoN will be met: more reliable off-grid power supply systems, to increase sea safety and to reduce maintenance intervals.

In addition, our solution will help to stablish a more energy efficient society -since this innovation will take advantage of the renewable energy of the sea-, creation of green growth and jobs; and a low carbon economy –since there will be less fuel consumption from maintenance tender ships and fuel transport for fuel generators (needed nowadays to provide energy to off-shore devices). This will imply less CO2 emissions.

Another important issue eForcis and BeForcis will contribute to overcome is the present and future lack of food in the planet. Providing food for all of Earth’s population is already a complicated task, and one that will become increasingly hard due to population growth: world population is expected to reach 9-10M by 2050. Aquaculture is considered essential to feed the growing population in the world, as it is the most sustainable way to provide proteins to humans. eForcis and BeForcis will promote further development of the marine aquaculture, which will surely contribute to feed the growing Earth population.

Related information

Record Number: 196462 / Last updated on: 2017-03-29
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