Portugal science centre unveils ‘next-generation’ technology for Atlantic maritime sector, following €1million pan-Euro project

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A pioneering science centre based in northern Portugal is releasing details of a major pan-European project showcasing ‘next-generation’ technology to meet future demands of the Atlantic maritime industry.

The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) located in Braga is the lead partner in the €1million ‘KETmaritime’ project backed by the European Regional Development Fund. Founded by the governments of Portugal and Spain, the INL is a world-wide hub for the deployment of Nanotechnology addressing society’s grand challenges.
The initiative is being delivered by a consortium of seven partners across Europe. The aim is to unite world-class public, private and educational bodies to identify ‘Key Enabling Technologies’ which will meet the future needs and demands of the Atlantic maritime industry.
The wide-scale project is focusing on five key areas. These include Advanced Manufacturing Shipbuilding Applications, Nanotechnology Marine Applications, Marine Industrial Biotechnology, Photonic Marine Applications and MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) Marine Applications.
“The KETmaritime project has enabled us to build a cooperative network across Europe to promote the transfer of advanced ‘new age’ technology to the Atlantic maritime sector,” said Ana Vila, the project coordinator from INL. “Our mission is to increase knowledge and awareness of ‘Key Enabling Technologies’ which will benefit a multitude of products, services and processes across the maritime industry, and in turn drive innovation, international partnerships and economic growth.
“We have been working with a world-class consortium of partners from Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland and the UK. Each member is a key stakeholder within its own region helping inform our transnational maritime manufacturing network. The strength and depth of the network has been pivotal to its success and each of our partners has played an instrumental role in the program.”
Key partners include French multidisciplinary research laboratory CIMAP (CEA group), Portuguese maritime economy association Fórum Oceano and Spanish industrial design centre IDONIAL. In addition, Ireland’s national centre for marine and renewable energy MaREI and UK marine cluster organisation Marine South East have provided major input. The consortium is completed by Spanish non-profit research association AIMEN focusing on highly specialised photonic Marine Applications.
The consortium will be releasing detailed findings from its five key areas of study over the coming months.
“The KETmaritime project began in 2017 and has undergone a series of important stages,” said David Santos, from IDONIAL. “We initially had to build awareness of the network before carrying out extensive research of the existing ecosystem. This involved mapping out R&D&I projects, to understand how we could best increase capability, skills and knowledge on KETs. We then developed a ‘technology roadmap’identifying future priorities based on stakeholder surveys, along with best practices. Further engagement involved training sessions, workshops and pilot projects across Europe.”
The next event will be a workshop on “Key Enabling Technologies (KETs): Innovation Drivers for the Marine Sectors” held in Gijón, Spain, at the Fundación IDONIAl premises, on October 29.
“Our work has ultimately led to the development of five highly detailed and comprehensive case study documents. These have been built around real industrial cases highlighting the benefits of KETs – which we consider to be next generation technology. We are gearing up to officially release these case studies over the coming months, in line with relevant maritime trade shows and events taking place across the international community,” added David.
“The findings will be of great interest to the Atlantic maritime sector illustrating how industry can harness the power of future technology to drive greater advances across products, services and processes.”