Since 2004 IPPO Engineering deals with blue technology (or blue economy), renewable energy and energy efficiency. The implementation of these innovative digital technologies concerns the design of sensors capable of improving the conditions of the marine ecosystem, but not only. Robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality can also be integrated to improve the performance of maritime trade.
The world of renewable energy is constantly growing, and evolving, and is increasingly opening up to new scopes. Blue energy is clean electrical energy deriving from waves, sea currents and tides, in response to climate change to which nature is subjected. The use of this type of energy, as well as other renewable energy sources, ensures a lower environmental impact thanks to the exploitation of natural renewable resources for the production of electricity.
WHAT IS BLUE TECHNOLOGY?
To better understand what blue technology is, we should start by explaining the importance of this new sector, characterised by a high degree of technological complexity and high costs of realization. Ocean energy has always been available to man, but for various reasons, including those mentioned above, its exploitation was not so rapid. If these obstacles will be overcome, it will be easier to make the blue economy usable to all. It will be possible to exploit the swell of the sea and the differences in temperature and salinity, with important implications in the environmental and economic fields.
In a Transparency Market Research Report, dating back to 2016, the global value of blue energy was calculated at around $ 11 billion by 2024, with an estimated annual growth rate of 23.3% between 2016 and 2024.
THE EUROPEAN UNION ENCOURAGES BLUE TECHNOLOGY
It should not be surprising that the European Union has decided to dedicate part of its resources to this sector, to support the technological development necessary for the reduction of greenhouse gases and for the creation of new jobs. The economic advantage deriving from the adoption of blue technology, in fact, should not be underestimated.
The European Union funds the “Pelagos Blue energy cluster” platform for the Mediterranean, to which Italy is part. The Italian network consists of small and medium enterprises, utilities, electricity companies and public and private research centres.
The European Commission issued a communication, titled “Blue Growth”, to plan a sustainable growth in the marine and maritime at European level. The objectives to be achieved through this communication can be summarized in three points:
The “blue growth” strategy starts from the awareness that seas and oceans represent an engine for the European economy, with enormous potential for innovation and growth, in the view of achieving the objectives set by the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The objective of these measures supporting the blue economy derives from the need to create a Forum on ocean energy, for the construction of cooperation ties in the blue technology sector and for the collection of renewable energy from seas and oceans. One of the many possibilities is to collect the energy of the wave motion or to exploit that tidal wave obtained from the water movements caused by the tides.
In Italy, in June 2019 a three-year action plan was studied, the NTC, National Technology Cluster. The NTC BIG gathers together the main institutional, academic and entrepreneurial components of the maritime world regarding to: shipbuilding, maritime transport, including recreational activities, the fish supply chain, aquaculture, mineral resources, marine biotechnology, forecasting and environmental information services and new underwater technologies.
Thanks to the industrialisation of blue technology, it will be possible to significantly contribute to the European economy, finally supported by a renewable, reliable and constant energy. Also from the business side, several benefits will be registered, with the creation of new highly qualified jobs, which will represent a real possibility of rebirth for the European coastal areas, often characterized by a high unemployment rate.
The goal, therefore, would be precisely to produce around 20 GW of blue energy by 2050, exploiting the energy of the sea. However, let us remember that ocean energy resources potentially exceed our current and future energy needs.
BLUE ENERGY: TECHNOLOGIES AND BLUE THINKING
The Blue Economy, therefore, does not provide for an increase in investments to protect the environment, but encourages the use of new technologies that would reduce production costs in every sector, with full respect for the environment. In fact, even with low investments, good revenues would be obtained, with a consequent increase in jobs.
Blue technology is based on the so-called “blue thinking”, a philosophy of thought that refuses to consider the respect for the environment as the need to seek solutions to production problems. On the contrary, “blue thinking” consists in believing that eco-sustainability and renewable resources represent an ocean of possibilities for the benefit of social and economic growth.
In this interview, Gunter Pauli, forerunner of blue technology and author of Blue Economy 2.0, explains how the purpose of blue energy is to find innovative solutions to the main current socio-economic challenges, designing new ways of production and consumption.
It has become apparent that renewable energies acquire a key role in the global energy landscape, due to the exhaustion of fossil fuels. The term renewable energy means, in fact, a type of energy produced by a non-exhaustive source, such as blue energy, solar or wind energy. These energies are clean, since they do not release harmful and / or climate-altering substances into the atmosphere.
To stay updated and find out more about the blue economy sector you can take a look at our Journal.