Meeting global demand for food and energy

Meeting global demand for food and energy

The Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will, for the first time, bring the aquaculture and renewable energy sectors together to address the challenges of offshore food and energy production, leveraging the benefits of colocation, vertical integration, infrastructure and shared services.  With this goal in mind, the Blue Economy CRC is working with 40 partners in 10 countries.  We are a founding Industry Participant, and we are pleased to be a key contributor to the CRC at the beginning of the ten-year CRC program.

Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone with over 80% being classified as offshore, beyond two nautical miles from the coast and subject to oceanic waves, tidal currents and wind. Renewable energy from these sources can be captured and converted into electricity for both onshore and offshore use, as well as transformed into energy ‘carriers’ such as hydrogen, for storage or export.

Australian aquaculture is challenged by the lack of suitable inshore sites and the knowledge to operate effectively in remote and/or exposed offshore environments. By overcoming these challenges, Australia can substantially develop its tropical, sub-tropical and temperate aquaculture industries.

We are leading a number of projects to support the enhancement of Australia’s blue economy, through the delivery of world-class, industry focussed research into integrated food and energy production systems.

Our Senior Engineer, Chris Shearer commented: 

“We have led the scoping study investigating the requirements for aquaculture vessels in Australia as fish farming operations move to more exposed “offshore” sites.  This project investigated various topics such as design and construction standards, human centred design guidelines, survey of vessels, infrastructure requirements, and emerging trends such as green fuels for vessels. Recommended future work includes developing a “code of practice” for aquaculture vessels in Australia.”

We are also leading a scoping study in the Governance and Regulation Research Program, with a team from the University of Queensland and the University of Tasmania. The project is focussed on developing a Research Plan for governance and regulation of the Blue Economy. 

Senior Prinicipal at BMT, David Rissik commented:

“This is a rapidly evolving space in which new policy and regulatory initiatives are required to enable a sustainable approach to deep ocean, offshore energy and aquaculture and ensure that regulation and policy are aligned with the interests and values of all stakeholders.  The Research Plan will establish the research agenda for this aspect of the BE CRC.  The work entails literature reviews, an on-line survey, targeted interviews and a Covid friendly workshop.”

As well as leading on these projects, we are also collaborating with partners on projects that are reviewing: state-of-the-art energy platform concepts; fish pen designs and mooring systems; sustainable hybrid power systems; offshore / high energy production structures; operational modelling for offshore aquaculture and energy and risks and opportunities for the blue economy.