The Departament d’Acció Climàtica, Alimentació i Agenda Rural of Generalitat de Catalunya promotes the creation of the R&D&I Platform in Marine Energies of Catalonia (PLEMCAT) led by the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), an innovative research infrastructure that will be located in the Bay of Roses, Alt Empordà in Girona. PLEMCAT will be a floating marine energy laboratory in the Mediterranean Sea used to study the behaviour of different technical components and systems to advance and validate floating wind power, other marine energies, monitor marine ecosystems and other environmental, climate or biodiversity studies.
The Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) is a research center in energy, which is part of the CERCA system, and has the TECNIO accreditation. IREC is recognized as a reference research center in the field of energy at an international level. Its participation in PLEMCAT demonstrates its commitment to the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to address the energy challenges of the future.
The initiative aims to create a floating marine energy platform in the Mediterranean that will serve as a laboratory for energy activities in the marine environment, with special attention to floating wind energy, and to study its interaction with the environment, as well as climate change in the Mediterranean Sea. The project will be carried out through the Catalonia Institut for Energy Research (IREC), with the support of the Departament d’Acció Climàtica, Alimentació i Agenda Rural of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
PLEMCAT will have different zones for carrying out several types of activities, covering R&D&I activities from the laboratory to the market. The first phase will be dedicated to the evaluation of materials, components and systems to analyse behaviour in real marine conditions, and it will also allow for other R&D&I activities. The second phase will be designed for testing prototypes of marine energy generation technologies. Finally, to promote industrial innovation, there will be a pre-commercial technology validation zone for wind power generation or other marine energies.
With this equipment, the aim is to facilitate and promote research in all phases of the development of a floating offshore wind energy system and other renewable energy technologies in the marine environment, as well as the training of researchers and professionals linked to these fields. This includes the development of advanced simulation models, advanced monitoring, control, operation and maintenance through remotely operated vehicles, and the design of new mooring and float systems. At the same time, the platform will be able to conduct environmental studies related to the interaction of these types of infrastructures with the marine environment and to become an observatory of climate change and the evolution of biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea.
The PLEMCAT proposal locates the platform in the Bay of Roses, at a distance of between 16 and 24 kilometres from the coast, and activities are expected to begin before the end of 2025. The project will be developed in two phases. The first phase will focus on all the activities related to testing prototypes, components, and other R&D activities, while in a second phase, the area intended for pre-commercial systems will be enabled.
To complete the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya, PLEMCAT applies for grants in the “RENMARINAS DEMOS” call of the Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico together with the IDAE, in Subprogramme 1 focused on R&D&I platforms. In addition, the achievement and implementation of this infrastructure, before the deadlines indicated in the call, also depends on obtaining all the corresponding and necessary administrative authorizations.
To kick off the project, the IREC has opened a call for expressions of interest from research, development and innovation institutions, as well as companies interested in using the platform’s capabilities.