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project. Furthermore, installations of additional assets within the wind parks were discussed: consider offshore data centres, the local production and storage of hydrogen, charged battery packs’ containers or biomass production out of seaweed!


Zero emissions - nothing more The current focus now is not on reducing emissions but on not producing any emission. This is a massive game-changer that will impact the entire energy chain. The widely shared conclusion was that all the technical components exist today to transport goods without emissions, from prototypes to commercially available products. Electric power sources, originating from batteries or fuel cells/hydrogen combinations were the most promoted solutions. But despite the availability of all the necessary technology, new energy storage infrastructure and energy distribution is still the most challenging item to solve right now, and this will require a perfect cooperation between public institutions and private companies.


Onboard systems will also evolve and require different types of competences, which will be a challenge for the maritime sector. The route for the implementation of full electric propulsion, mostly by a fuel cells/H2 combination, was clearly identified: inland shipping and the development of combined bunkering on strategic spots where canals and highways cross each other, short-sea shipping within European waters, and ultimately ocean transport.


Maybe one of the most important milestones is the involvement of cargo owners to help the maritime sector realise this transition and consumers will also have to accept that they might be paying a slightly higher price for goods.


Winds of change The use of wind to fully or partially propel ships is at a tipping point of being accepted and implemented as a credible and reliable device to reduce energy use. The diversity of working prototypes and concepts developed for short-sea transport has reached a critical mass that marks the maturity of this sector.


Smart drones, high-tech controls and propulsion systems Inspired by the wonder of nature, exciting techniques used in flight control, sensoring and autonomy of marine drones were presented. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles will surely benefit from such techniques, as well as control techniques for course keeping or station keeping operations. Propulsion systems were also challenged by body deformation strategies used by marine mammals.


Both of these events highlight the importance of working together to stimulate innovation and smart solutions if we are going to achieve the ultimate goals of having sustainable oceans and zero emission transport. Visit BlueForum.org for presentations, sustainable projects and news on upcoming events.


report 21


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