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China’s ‘blue silicon valley’ harnesses Scottish expertise


Scotland is a global powerhouse in renewable energy and China wants to tap into the country’s knowledge to progress its own ambitions.

As China strives to capitalize on the huge global potential for marine renewable energy, they invited wave and tidal experts from the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, and from other parts of the UK to visit their developing ‘blue silicon valley’ in Qingdao to discuss the creation of a Chinese version of EMEC: CMEC.

EMEC is set to provide feasibility studies around the creation of a CMEC facility as part of a brand new $245 million (2 billion Yuan) marine laboratory campus in Shandong Province, China.

Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology will serve as the base for the project, drawing researchers from a number of Chinese universities. An ocean energy demonstration site has already been identified as a key aspect of the lab’s innovation activities.

On the back of an initial workshop in Orkney in October this year, Neil Kermode, EMEC’s managing director visited the new lab in Qingdao this month to take part in a follow-up workshop, part of the ‘Aoshan Forum’:

“EMEC has more than a decade of experience in the design, build and operation of its marine energy test facilities with more wave and tidal devices having been tested at EMEC than anywhere else in the world (27 devices from 17 companies from 9 different countries). This important R&D activity has created a UK-wide boost to innovation in the maritime economy supply chain which is world-leading and already exporting its knowledge and expertise.

“The maritime capabilities in and around Qingdao are astonishing, and China has a very strong stance on tackling climate change. Combined, this makes marine energy an interesting and important endeavour for their researchers. We met several academics who are already developing technologies and the new laboratory campus in Qingdao gives them a perfect base from which to progress their innovations.

“We’ve been met with a real appetite in China to learn from the experience gained over the last decade at EMEC, and we’re keen to continue building collaborative R&D and innovation links between the UK and China to help drive the development of ocean energy on a global scale.”

The project is being supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and China Britain Business Council (CBBC).

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