On Friday 17 May 2019, the installation of the unique maritime test platform at sea, about 500 metres before the port of Oostende, has been completed.
The maritime platform will serve as a base for setting up tests and demonstrations at sea. "After the summer, both companies and educational institutes will be able to carry out the first tests," says Geert Dangreau, general coordinator of Factories of the Future.
The testing platform is a creation of the Blue Accelerator project, in which a ‘living lab’ will be created at sea. The lab will enable innovation projects to be launched for various marine and maritime sectors in real-life conditions at sea, with a focus on wave, wind and tidal energy and the broader blue economy. Examples of possible tests include the generation of wave energy, corrosion research, cable manipulations, etc. "The demonstration and testing possibilities created by this project are part of the innovation chain in the field of Blue Energy that we are developing in West Flanders", explains Jean de Bethune, chairman of POM West Flanders. "On the Greenbridge campus, the Maritime Access Department is building a wave basin and towing tank, Ghent University is investing in additional research laboratories and we are developing a science park focused on the marine and maritime technologies sector. The possibility to test technologies in real-life situations at sea will increase the competitive advantage of our companies from West Flanders.”
In addition to creating the platform and associated support framework, the project partners are also committed to an innovation trajectory for the promising niche of drones for offshore applications. The testing facility will be able to prove its usefulness in this context as well.
The maritime testing platform will be officially opened in June.