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Marine-i project is helping to create Cornwall’s marine industries of the future

24 November 2021

3 minutes to read

Marine-i project is helping to create Cornwall’s marine industries of the future

Marine-i is a pioneering business support programme between the University of Exeter and five Project Partners that has been designed to foster innovation in the marine technology sector in Cornwall.

“Our goal is to help put Cornwall at the forefront of the marine tech industries of the future,” says Professor Lars Johanning, Programme Director for Marine-i and Professor of Ocean Technology at the University of Exeter. “These include marine energy, marine manufacturing, maritime operations and marine environmental technologies. This programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It aims to stimulate and support research and innovation, to help Cornish marine businesses exploit new market opportunities.

“Marine technology is a vital industry for Cornwall, and one with high growth potential for the future. It will have a huge influence on the economic prospects of the county.”

Outstanding support for pioneering marine technology businesses

Marine-i offers one of the most complete packages of innovation support ever designed for the marine sector.

This includes business consultancy, research expertise, grant funding, access to some of the best testing facilities in Europe and graduate support at a subsidised cost. Marine-i provides a bespoke package to marine businesses that is geared to their specific needs and delivered through one point of contact.

There are six Project Partners who work closely together to create the Marine-i offer. These are the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company, and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult. Each have their own specialist expertise that they apply to support innovative marine businesses.

Marine-i in Action

To date, Marine-i has supported local companies working in wind, wave and tidal power generation, helping to pioneer new ways of delivering the green energy of the future. The next ten years will see the most exciting development yet in our region – the building of floating offshore windfarms in the Celtic Sea.

Floating wind turbines can be located in very deep waters, in areas with the strongest winds. Cornwall will be right at the forefront of this new industry and Marine-i is supporting a wide range of Cornish innovators who are working in this field.

Case Study: Falco Drone Technologies

Support from Marine-i is enabling Falco Drone Technologies to develop a pioneering new drone which could play a vital role in the inspection and maintenance of floating offshore wind installations.

The new drone technology allows for drastically improved flight performance of multirotor drones by mimicking bird flight.

Marine-i is helping with expert analysis of the tasks that could be carried out by the drone and with flight trials at a test wind turbine.

Case Study: J-Supplied

Marine-i is helping 3D printing specialist J-Supplied to develop large scale technology to produce bespoke parts for the floating offshore wind industry, such as custom-designed turbine blades.

The company’s vision is to have ‘warehouse size’ gantries that would enable a 5-axis robotic 3D printer to manufacture very large products. This would break completely new ground for their industry.

Marine-i is providing a comprehensive package of RD&I support, which includes market analysis and bespoke process research to optimise the new technology.

Case Study: Tugdock

Tugdock is an innovative floating platform that can be used in the construction and launch of floating turbines. It can operate in as little as 5 metres draft, enabling a more efficient construction. The platform is then towed to deeper water for launching of the turbines. The platform is modular, easy to erect, and reusable.

Marine-i has supported the project through grant funding and by providing access to leading-edge marine RD&I expertise and world-class testing facilities.

Lucas Lowe-Houghton, Director of Business Development for Tugdock, says: “We are very grateful for this support from Marine-i. Having access to this level of research expertise will really help to accelerate the development of our unique technology, opening up a fast growing global market for us.”

“The pioneering innovation that we are seeing in Cornwall today is building a brilliant platform for future growth, making this a really exciting time for our marine technology industry. These new ideas could have a significant impact on marine technology around the world, helping to secure Cornwall’s reputation as a leader in this field.

“We want to help businesses get to the stage where their new ideas can be demonstrated and commercialised. The Marine-i programme runs until December 2022, so there is still a great opportunity for more local SMEs to benefit from our support.”

Professor Lars Johanning (Programme Director, Marine-i)

How to work with Marine-i

To find out more about how Marine-i could help your business, please visit or contact the team through

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