Businesses and organisations engaged in the South West of England’s marine energy sector have welcomed news of a new funding stream to support innovation in composite technology.
West of England marine energy sector welcomes funding for composite testing
A figure of £1 million has been allocated to support Bristol’s growing marine energy sector as part of a £86 million Local Growth Deal that has been awarded to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The funding has been earmarked for composite test facilities, reliability/materials studies and manufacturing processes.
“This is fantastic news for the marine energy sector and will help to cement Bristol’s position as a centre for tidal technology development” said Johnny Gowdy, director at Regen SW, who helped put the funding proposal together. “We are fortunate to have an established cluster of tidal technology developers including Siemens MCT, Alstom and Atlantis Resources based in the region. We also have some of the leading technical consultancy firms, including DNV GL and IT Power, based here in Bristol plus a wider group of around 80 companies who are part of the Bristol Tidal Energy Forum and the wider South West Marine Energy Park.”
Graham Harrison, funding and partnership manager at the National Composites Centre (NCC) added that the NCC can provide industrial-scale innovation in areas like materials, design and simulation, testing and reliability analysis. The centre could also optimise manufacturing processes to reduce production costs and improve economies of scale. Academic-collaboration and knowledge transfer could also be brought in by drawing on the West of England’s existing expertise in advanced manufacturing sectors such as Aerospace.
Regen SW and the NCC will now be consulting with the industry to work out in detail how the funding can be best used to maximise private sector investment and to make use of the assets and resources at the NCC and in the composites supply chain. Regen SW has been working to support the development of the marine energy sector over the last decade supporting local companies, managing the Bristol Tidal Energy Forum and helping to establish the South West Marine Energy Park. The NCC is a partner of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and provides collaborative, open-access, research, technology and people development, delivering world-class innovation and knowledge transfer for the design, manufacture and application of composites.