Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - OCEANET (OceaNET)

Floating offshore wind and wave energy form part of an emerging offshore renewable energy industry. The two fields share several common features, including technological challenges and solutions, ocean space utilization challenges and industrial stakeholders. OceaNET (http://www.oceanet-itn.eu/) is an Initial Training Network project dedicated to floating offshore wind and wave energy, comprising a consortium of 10 European partners led by WavEC Offshore Renewables, funded under the PEOPLE Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s FP7 Programme. The project followed the success of previous research training networks (RTN) (Wavetrain and Wavetrain 2) managed by OceaNET’s coordinator. The ultimate goal of OceaNET was to train 13 science-based young engineers by offering them good technical, economic, environmental and societal background, and a market-oriented approach for the upcoming Offshore Renewable Energy market. In doing so, the network developed a number of cutting-edge research projects/tasks, each led by one of the research trainees for 36 months, hosted by a first-class European Research & Development (R&D) institute, university or company active in the field. Activities focused on such topics as array design, implementation and O&M for wave and floating offshore wind energy applications. The development of enabling technologies to support the deployment and operation of arrays has been equally addressed. The hands-on training was complemented with a handful of short-courses on a range of topics relating to the field of offshore renewable energies, including technology, energy resources and enabling technologies, as well as economic, environmental and societal issues. The training programme also comprised secondments to selected industrial companies.
The rationale underpinning the integration of floating offshore wind and wave energy in OceaNET’s training and research programmes lies not only in the fact that both are in a similar status of development and share the same enabling technologies, licensing, survivability, O&M issues and stakeholders, but also in the fact that the two areas require well-trained professionals with the same background. Such need is currently not covered by universities, which, due to the initial stage of the industry, are not yet offering the proper educational programmes. OceaNET has actively contributed to change this state of affairs by providing high quality training in the field, ensuring an effective integration of the fellows’ research into the academic activities of the universities acting as host institutions, and vehemently encouraging the fellows to engage in PhD studies.
Overall, the implementation of the 48 months of the OceaNET ITN proceeded largely according to expectations. During the first year the project focused on the recruitment of researchers, building the network foundations and disseminating information about the project to a wider audience. Thirteen early stage researchers (ESRs) were hired by month 14, twelve of which have enrolled in a PhD. In the months that followed this initial period there was a significant increase in the research activity across the network, with notable progresses. The third quarter of the project saw an increase of collaborative efforts between ESRs and the intensification of secondments. The final stages of the project were dedicated to summing up and disseminating the main findings and developments of the ITN. There are clear signs that the network will outlive the project’s duration and that the fellows are finding good job opportunities within the field.
Throughout the course of the project the network has hosted six meetings: i) the Kick-off Meeting, in October 2013, Lisbon; ii) the OceaNET Welcome Seminar, in May 2014, Santander; iii) the First Annual Meeting, in July 2014, Lisbon; iv) the Mid-Term Review Meeting, in April 2015, Delft; v) the Third Annual Meeting, in April 2016, Penryn; vi) the Fourth Annual Meeting, in March 2017, Bilbao. The Welcome Seminar in May 2014 was attended by the appointed ESRs and representatives from most of the project partners. This event provided the first opportunity for the ESRs to meet each other and the scientists-in-charge, as well as to discuss and grasp the operational details of the ITN, from both the management and the scientific standpoints. The Fourth Annual Meeting was held jointly with the OceaNET Final Workshop, on the theme “Offshore Renewable Energy farm design and O&M”, providing an opportunity to discuss key outcomes of the project and foster the engagement with the scientific community at large.
Five of the nine planned short-courses were organized during the first period. The four remaining short-courses were held in the second period. Following the initial plan, the full short-course programme was concluded by month 33, well before the conclusion of the project, in order to provide the ESRs with a solid and broad background to tackle the last stages of the respective individual research projects. These short-courses covered a range of topics relevant to the common offshore renewable energy background of the ESRs, including offshore wind and wave energy resource, technology and modelling, together with such transferable skills as innovation management and entrepreneurship, as well as cross-cutting aspects as socio-economic and environmental issues, and farm design and operation. The short-courses followed the “summer school” principle, with the fellows coming together during typically one week. As a consequence, they have been instrumental not only in complementing the training of the young researchers in the field, but also in consolidating the ties among this up-and-coming community in terms of networking. In addition, the ESRs also attended the 9th and 10th INORE Symposia, thus extending their scientific connections to the wider offshore renewable energy emerging community.
OceaNET has been actively represented in the most important conferences and events in the fields of offshore wind and wave energy, such as EWTEC (the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference), EWEA Offshore by the European Wind Energy Association, OMAE (the International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Coastal Engineering), ISOPE (the International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference), ICOE (the International Conference on Ocean Energy) and RENEW (the International Conference on Renewable Energies Offshore). Furthermore, outcomes of the fellows’ research have already been published in a few articles in relevant peer-reviewed journals.
To sum up, relevant research activity was conducted by the network during the 4 years of duration of OceaNET. The group has grown into an intrinsically tied network, showing increasing signs of collaboration between ESRs throughout the project. It is expected that the network will continue to grow and solidify beyond the scope of the project, significantly contributing to boost and sustain the upcoming offshore renewable energy market. The increasing interest of the industry in OceaNET’s group of up-and-coming researchers corroborates these expectations and is a sign that the project has been entirely successful.

Reported by

WAVEC/OFFSHORE RENEWABLES - CENTRO DE ENERGIA OFFSHORE
Portugal

Subjects

Life Sciences
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