The National Subsea Centre (NSC), a centre of excellence for subsea research and technology development, has been officially opened in Dyce, Aberdeen by Michael Matheson, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport and UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord.
The ministers joined industry and civic leaders to celebrate the launch of the multi-million-pound centre delivered through a partnership between Robert Gordon University (RGU) and Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD).
The National Subsea Centre was established to provide advanced research to accelerate the transition to net zero. Driven by key industry challenges and the development of challenge-led research, the NSC focuses on three strategic research programmes: Transparent Ocean, Integrated Energy and Marine Operations. Each programme is delivered through interdisciplinary research projects in the fields of subsea engineering, artificial intelligence, data science, and integrated energy.
The centre explores the new technology needed by the energy industry to meet challenges of reduced emissions from operations, cost-effective and resilient power grids and the need to develop a highly skilled digital workforce.
The NSC is currently working with NZTC on a number of innovative projects, including the ‘SeaSense’ project which will develop technology that allows Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) to function in harsh, visually compromised environments. The two centres are also collaborating on the NZTC’s ‘Data for Net Zero (D4NZ)’ project which will deliver the world’s first Smart Energy Basin by utilising an integrated suite of data science, visualisation and modelling tools.
Professor John McCall, NSC Director, said: “We’re delighted to have welcomed our partners and key stakeholders to the official inauguration of the centre today to showcase the hugely impactful research our teams are doing.
“We already have an embedded culture of enthusiasm and curiosity at the centre, and we use this to drive the development of smart digital and engineering technologies to enable a faster, more cost-effective and sustainable transition to a net zero energy basin, both locally in the North Sea, and globally in other offshore energy environments.”
Professor Steve Olivier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon University, said: "I am delighted that the University has officially launched the National Subsea Centre with our partners at the Net Zero Technology Centre. The NSC is a major element of the University’s strategic approach to strengthening the excellence of its research base.
"The NSC has a major contribution to make to accelerating the transition to decarbonised energy through innovative research in the subsea environment. Partnership underpins how the NSC is working, particularly its crucial role in bringing together industry and academia. The research being carried out here, supported by our government partners, will have a far-reaching impact regionally, nationally and internationally as we plot a course towards a sustainable energy future."
Colette Cohen, CEO of the Net Zero Technology Centre, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Robert Gordon University to establish the National Subsea Centre. This collaboration reinforces Aberdeen’s position as a leader in subsea and will accelerate the research into and deployment of new technologies to tackle subsea engineering challenges, moving Scotland and our sector closer towards its net zero targets.”
Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, commented: “In publishing our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan this week, we have set out a vision for our energy sector in a net zero Scotland. We have put the Aberdeen region at the heart of this transition, ensuring it is just and fair, and makes the most of the skills and experience that have been built over the past five decades.
“The National Subsea Centre can be a tremendous asset to make this vision a reality. It is also another important milestone in the Aberdeen City Region Deal, embodying the collaborative ethos required both to successfully deliver our National Strategy for Economic Transformation and deliver a just transition to net zero.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: "The North East of Scotland has a wealth of skills and infrastructure and with investment in new technologies it will lead the transition to the secure, sustainable net-zero energy industry our country needs.
"This fantastic new facility will undertake important research on the subsea technologies that underpin so much of our offshore energy potential.
"The UK Government is supporting the National Subsea Centre through our combined investment with the Scottish Government of £180million in the Net Zero Technology Centre, and the regional economy through our North Sea Transition Deal."
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