Hosted by TSB and Dstl, and organised by the Defence SIG and Transport KTN, and all about marine vessel efficiency, last Thursday's All At Sea II - Future Maritime Science & Technology Opportunities event in London reviewed the opportunities and current research ahead of TSB’s imminent Vessel Efficiency II Collaborative R&D Competition.
Transport KTN's Information & Consortia Building Days in support of the competition - at Southampton, Merseyside and Newcastle - were also detailed to over 130 attendees with marine industry interests.
The event was also an opportunity for the UK marine industry to express views on future UK research funding priorities and influence the scope of future maritime funding competitions.
VEI one of the most successful TSB calls in any new sector
Opening the meeting, Ruth Mallors, Director of AADKTN, described the progress since the initial All at Sea event in January 2012, including the first Vessel Efficiency competition, and partly as a result, a "better connected UK maritime supplier community".
Next to set the scene were Gregory Darling, Co-chair, and John Murray, Vice-Chair, of the Marine Industry Leadership Council.
Gregory Darling referred to research showing that the UK marine and maritime business is bigger than aerospace and aviation combined, contributing 700,000 jobs and £9BN of value to the UK economy.
Showing that the industry can respond to the challenge, John Murray claimed "the first marine efficiency call was one of the most successful TSB calls in any new sector".
That call, in his view, revealed there was a lot of potential for crossover between the low carbon automotive sector and the marine industry.
David Sherburn, for Dstl, stated the requirements of the defence industry is for solutions offering improved affordability and de-risking. Indeed, the MOD "can't have enough efficiency and affordability" for delivery to the front line user.
Other defence industry issues of interest include unmanned vehicles, safety, flexibility and 'increased tempo'.
TSB Vessel Efficiency II competition - for better systems at sea
Prior to outlining Vessel Efficiency II, David Elson, TSB's lead for Marine and Maritime, introduced presentations by representatives from seven of the ten successful bidders for the £7 million available for the first Vessel Efficiency Collaborative R&D Competition. These were:
High Efficiency Marine Energy, Ken Wittamore, Triskel Marine;
Wave Augmented Foil Technology, Anita Teo, Rolls-Royce;
Novel Hull coating to Reduce Friction and Fouling, Pat Salmon, Thales;
High Efficiciency work Vessel, Daniel Cox, Cox Powertrain;
GLEAMS-Glycerine Fuel for Engines & Marine Sustainability, Simon Powell, Marine South East;
Energy Harvesting Technology from Vessel Motion, Paul Watson, A&P Group;
Holistic Vessel performance & Routing System, Mark Calverley, Fugro GEOS.
These successful consortia will be featured in forthcoming articles. The three other competition winners that were announced were:
Magnetically Geared Propulsion Motor- a project to mature the design of a compact and highly efficient electric propulsion motor, led by Magnomatics Ltd.
Composite Cabin Module - a demonstration, led by PE Composites Limited, of achieving a significant weight saving by building pre-fabricated accommodation modules out of composite materials, as opposed to steel.
Vessel Clean - Development of ultrasound technology led by Applied Inspection Ltd. to inhibit bio-film buildup on large vessels.
Vessel Efficiency II competition: Better systems at Sea
David Elson then previewed the Vessel Efficiency II competition, for which investment of up to £3m is to be made available for collaborative R&D projects for systems that reduce emissions and improve efficiency of marine vessels.
The document Vessel Efficiency II: better systems at sea General guidance for applicants provides details information about funding rules, project costs and how to submit applications.
TSB will be seeking collaborative, business-led proposals for funding industrial research projects, in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs).
Projects are expected to range in size from total costs of £500k to £1.5m.
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 6 January 2014. The deadline for all expressions of interest is at noon on 5 March 2014.
A briefing event for potential applicants will be held on 14 January 2014 and consortium-building events (see above) will be held.
TSB future plans
According to David Elson, TSB plans to continue to work with the marine and maritime industry to seek opportunities for growth in the UK supporting the marine autonomous systems initiative; by aiming for an annual marine R&D competition as a minimum; offering further road mapping and capability work; developing longer term priority funding themes in a 2-to-5 year time frame; and support MARTEC and EU programmes.
Transport KTN facilitated workshop
In the afternoon, Transport KTN facilitated a workshop to help refine priority funding for the UK in the themes of Sensors, Autonomy and On-vessel Data management and communications; Green ship systems System technologies for both prime mover and energy management and efficiency; and vessel design, including structures, materials and hydrodynamics etc.
Suggestions were plotted by delegates for one, 5, 10 and 15 year timeframes.
Horizon 2020 - 2014 Call for Waterborne
Cliff Funnell, the UK Surface Transport National contact, outlined the likely work programme for the 2014 Call under the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
These are likely to be:
Towards the energy efficient and very low-emission vessel;
Safer and more efficient waterborne operations through new technologies and smarter traffic management;
System modelling and life-cycle cost and performance optimisation for waterborne assets;
Advancing innovation in the inland waterways transport (IWT) sector.
The Horizon 2020, 2014 Call, draft work programme was published on 31 October but the exact wording may change. The actual calls will be published on 11 December and transport information days will be held on 18th of December.
Given one topic likely to be the future for vessel efficiency a panel of marine industry experts placed the bets on: ‘fusion’ by Ben Evans of Dstl; ‘coatings’ from Jeff Owen, UK Nest; ‘high density energy storage’ from Philip Smith, Dstl; ‘operational efficiency’ from Fai Cheng, Lloyd’s Register: and ‘autonomy’ suggested by Ajit Shenoi, of Southampton University.
Paul Graves, Head of Research & Technology, Rolls-Royce, as chair expressed his company's interest in the innovation case studies presented. In teasing together themes of the day he highlighted "autonomy", "the need for vessel simulation on a top level - currently solutions are piecemeal", and, overall, "the importance of the maritime sector and government support".
Regardless of the innovations developed to get to more efficient vessels he closed the event by emphasising the market oportunity, as "thousands of ships need retrofitting for vessel efficiency".
For more coverage, see the event Flickr set gallery, and Storified coverage on Twitter.