THE BLUE ECONOMY CRC
“Australia’s vast oceans are the heritage, heart and economic future of our country. The value of this marine estate to the homes, work, play, energy, food, safety and security of all Australians is matched only by the enormous economic and environmental wealth that this national asset affords us.”
National Marine Science Plan 2015-2025 – Driving the development of Australia’s blue economy
The Blue Economy CRC brings together expertise in the seafood, marine renewable energy and offshore marine engineering sectors to deliver innovative solutions that will transform the way we use our oceans.
With the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone globally (a marine territory larger than its landmass) Australia has enormous potential to use its ocean domain to increase seafood and renewable energy production.
Growing demand for sustainable seafood, concerns about environmental impact and conflict with community, recreational and policy stakeholders in the coastal zone has made expansion of aquaculture challenging. Australian aquaculture is constrained by the lack of suitable inshore sites and the knowledge to operate effectively in remote and/or exposed offshore environments.
Australia hosts tropical, sub-tropical and temperate water environments that are all capable of supporting aquaculture growth and is also home to some of the world’s best offshore energy resources. Together, these resources underpin an unparalleled opportunity to develop new industries that can drive significant economic growth in line with the $100 billion annual revenue target set by Australia’s National Marine Science Plan (2015-2025).
Aquaculture is the fastest growing global food-producing sector, with the highest per capita consumers of seafood located in Asia. Increasing demand from Asia will only be met from aquaculture, yet existing and emerging aquaculture industries in Australia (and other parts of the world) are constrained by the availability of suitable near shore production sites. Offshore aquaculture is a solution to meet this opportunity. However, the lack of knowledge about operating in this new environment, including robust infrastructure and its maintenance, energy availability on demand, animal husbandry, supply chain logistics and biosecurity, is a major problem.
Equally, the renewable energy sector continues to expand exponentially, with high demand for low carbon energy. The Federal Government has set a large-scale renewable energy target for 33,000 GWh of Australia’s annual electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2020.
The Blue Economy CRC will bring together, for the first time, national and international expertise in aquaculture, marine renewable energy and marine engineering as part of a single, collaborative project. Through integration of the knowledge and expertise across these sectors, this CRC will pave the way for innovative, commercially viable and sustainable offshore developments that will see rapid increases in marine renewable energy output and seafood production.
Australia has some of the world’s best wind, wave and tidal resources, which have enormous potential to deliver energy to support offshore operations and exportable renewable energy such as hydrogen. The main problem for the marine renewable energy sector is the development of devices for offshore conditions that demonstrate commercial competitiveness and can achieve meaningful scale of deployment.
The Blue Economy CRC will work with the marine renewable energy and marine engineering sectors to develop devices that can withstand the offshore environment, are commercially viable and can deliver competitive energy solutions for offshore production systems. To meet the increasing demand for low carbon energy, the CRC will also work with hydrogen generation, separation and storage companies to test new concepts and technology in support of this emerging value chain.
To address this problem, the Blue Economy CRC will work with the marine engineering, aquaculture and marine renewable energy sectors to innovate our domestic production base by:
- Developing technology to increase productivity and efficiency of production systems.
- Harnessing engineering skills to re-think the infrastructure and operational requirements to operate offshore.
- Achieving significant scales of production to reduce per unit costs
- Considering lower environmental impact farming methods to reduce the incidence of disease, proactively avoid regulatory intervention and to preserve a market premium.
- Pursuing species with high profit margin that offset higher production, transport and maintenance costs.
- Exploiting taste difference, provenance and brand value to meet consumer demand for best quality and ethically produced products
- Exploring opportunities for co-location/shared infrastructure with aligned
- industries in order to defray the significant capital and operating costs of operating offshore.