In a new report issued November 6, 2020, The Economist Intelligence Unit examines the past, present and future of energy innovation for the “Blue Economy.”
To read the report, entitled “Accelerating Energy Innovation for the Blue Economy,” click here.
The report, which was funded in part by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, looks at the energy needs of different ocean economy sectors, assesses groundbreaking innovations and outlines an enabling environment for energy innovation within the Blue Economy.
Based on three case studies and in-depth interviews with 30 energy and Blue Economy experts, this report provides valuable insights for all stakeholders working to develop new, clean solutions for the Blue Economy and beyond.
- Energy consumers in the Blue Economy
- The sail-to-steam transition and lessons for energy innovation
- Energy storage and the Blue Economy
- The offshore wind boom
Of particular interest to us at OceanBased Perpetual Energy, the report section dealing with energy storage, which notes that new economic and political attention towards alternative energy paradigms drove a wave of battery innovations during the 1970s. The lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery has become the most prominent of these and now serves as the backbone of the electronics, electric vehicle (EV) and utility storage markets. In the Blue Economy, energy storage—especially the higher energy density offered by Li-ion batteries—powers ocean observation and research.
This observation and research produces fundamental knowledge that enables all Blue Economy sectors to grow. Furthermore, the battery-driven autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) market is rapidly growing while the electric boat market is poised to expand in the near future. Time, collaboration, pathway markets and marinisation (adapting technology for use in marine environments) were all central to the development of new battery technologies. Yet batteries still have major limitations for blue economy usage that new innovations—like improved in-situ power generation—could help to overcome.
The final chapter, entitled “Energy innovation for the Blue Economy,” ties the lessons of the report’s together to identify resource mobilisation—particularly of time—as key for energy innovation in the Blue Economy. It then outlines eight elements of the enabling environment that can increase the likelihood of successful innovation and reduce the need for the two key ingredients.
Further, it details the state and relevance of each element generally, as well as for marine energy specifically, a set of technologies that hold particular promise for the Blue Economy.
These eight elements, ordered broadly by the technology readiness levels they correspond to, are:
- marinisation, technology transfer and collaboration;
- policy support;
- financing environment;
- enabling and complementary technologies;
- public awareness, attitudes, and social acceptance;
- pathway markets, competition and economies of scale;
- testing, standards and certification; and
- complementary infrastructure.