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Marine-i welcomes news that SW marine tech innovation project has been awarded Levelling Up funding

20th January 2023

Marine-i has welcomed the news that Torridge District Council's proposed Appledore Clean Maritime Innovation Centre was awarded £15.6m of funding from the Levelling Up Fund issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 

The development will establish Torridge and wider northern Devon as a global-leading research and development destination for innovation in clean maritime technology and support industries.

Expected to open in 2025, the centre will feature cutting-edge research and industry partnerships from the Centre for Future Clean Mobility (CFCM, University of Exeter) and the University of Plymouth offshore renewable and maritime autonomy specialisms. 

Prof Lars Johanning of University of Exeter, who is Programme Director of Marine-i, said: ”University of Exeter and University of Plymouth are both partners in Marine-i, an innovation project which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund. Over the last six years, we have accelerated innovation within marine tech companies in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This has included projects related to clean maritime propulsion, floating offshore wind and aquaculture. We are delighted that this new centre will further galvanise innovation in these sectors in the South West.”

CFCM's global-leading research into clean maritime propulsion will support the re-positioning of Appledore as a centre of excellence for clean-propulsion shipbuilding. The project will also capitalise on the Crown Estate's plans to develop an initial 4GW of Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) energy generation in the Celtic Sea, enough to power around 3 million homes.

In addition, following the recent installation of northern Devon's first seaweed farm, there has been significant interest to support the growing local seaweed sector- an industry predicted to be worth around €9bn annually by 2030 across Europe. This includes the development of seaweed biproducts such as plastic replacements and pharmaceuticals, efforts which the University of Plymouth are ready to support. Forecasts indicate that the proposals are expected to create circa 90 jobs and bring an estimated injection of over £60 million into the local economy over the next 30 years.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter said: "This multi-million pound funding boost is pivotal to ensuring the South-West region is at the forefront of leading meaningful action against the climate emergency and ecological crisis that affects us all. This partnership reaffirms the Centre's commitment to be at the heart of both clean shipbuilding and global Floating Offshore Wind technology innovation, while also underpinning the University's commitment to providing a greener and fairer future for all.” Find out more here.

[Image: Torridge District Council]