Complex Challenges Are Our Starting Point

The need for a transition to net zero carbon energy production and distribution systems is a fundamental driver of the response to the present climate emergency. The North Sea region is the heart of offshore energy production for Europe, with Aberdeen and North-East Scotland a global hub for oil and gas and an increasingly large player in offshore renewables.

The transformation of the energy sector from carbon to hydrogen and renewables poses huge industrial and environmental challenges: large changes are required to infrastructure, workforce, operations and supply chains. Lead times are long, project costs run into the billions and complexity and uncertainty are high.

In recent years, many industries across the globe have already undergone dramatic transformations, often grouped under the term “Industry 4.0”. Academic advances in machine learning and optimisation, sensing and imaging, data science, virtual reality, advanced manufacturing, high performance computing and advanced engineering are being combined into novel technological capabilities that positively disrupt traditional practices, enabling massive productivity gains, creating new industries and facilitating a high-wage knowledge economy.

Accelerating the Net Zero Industrial Transition Through Knowledge Exchange

The National Subsea Centre, based in Aberdeen, the energy capital of Europe, is a global centre of excellence working with partners in all sectors to develop game-changing digital and smart solutions that can sustainably realise the economic potential of oceans. With the real-world applicability of our research, we have a big role in transitioning our industry partners to a greener economy and adding transformative value by delivering effective solutions to their problems.   

The challenges addressed by smart technologies often recur across multiple industries meaning that solutions often have cross-industry transferability. The development of smart subsea and marine technologies can be accelerated by importing and adapting relevant solutions from other industries, or by developing cross-industry solutions to common challenges with diverse partner consortia. 

Our focus on knowledge exchange with industrial and academic partners aims to deliver novel smart technologies where they can be best and most rapidly applied to the industry challenges presented by net zero, as well as the expertise needed to meet the workforce demands in rapidly developing fields of smart subsea technologies.  

Our Research Programmes

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Transparent Ocean

Aiming to develop leading edge capability to detect, monitor and understand subsea and marine activities, including condition of supporting infrastructures and surrounding environments, using the full range of state-of-the-art platforms and sources for data acquisition, visualisation, analysis, interpretation and prediction.

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Integrated Energy

Aiming to develop cutting edge capability to design, model, evaluate and construct an integrated marine energy grid to support the transition to decarbonised energy, using smart materials, digital twins, robotics and mixed energy vector power systems.

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Net Zero Operations

Aiming to develop leading edge capability to reduce carbon emissions, resource consumption and environmental footprint of marine industry operations using digital twins, machine learning and optimisation for operations planning and management, workforce transition planning and supply chain redesign.

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Cyber-Physical Systems

Aiming to develop cutting edge capability to maintain and protect equipment, assets and infrastructures of marine industry through the convergence of operational and information technologies by seamless integration of physical components with modern computation, control and automation algorithms.