Blue Growth is the creation of economic activity and jobs at sea, while multiple use of space makes efficient use of the available sea area by combining industries. Clearly there are many combinations and many value propositions. However, most technologies to date are considered blue sky concepts, with little robust techno-economic analysis demonstrating profitability.
The paper begins by providing a comprehensive review of Blue Growth and multi-use in Blue Growth; both in policy as well as the wide range of current technologies, including ocean energy, offshore wind energy, offshore aquaculture and desalination.The Maribe H2020 project provides the vehicle for the research element of the paper. The major contribution is a new methodology for selecting, filtering, developing and ranking business propositions for multiple-use of space (MUS) and multi-use platforms (MUP). Application of the method for the first time identified three case studies where Blue Growth combination projects can be economically viable, with attractive internal rate of return (IRRs). Results presented for the case studies report standard investment metrics and show the relative contribution of each product (energy, food, water) to the system profitability, as well as socio-economic impact. Existing companies were fully engaged in the process. Co-creation between sector experts and industry led to both improved business value propositions and robust assessment of investment readiness. In contrast to the presumption that large scale platforms are commercially attractive, the highest ranking case study companies required smaller capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operated in niche subsectors.
In conclusion, the positive economic performance of the case studies
should provide confidence for the EC as well as investors that MUS and MUP have viable economic futures leading towards commercialisation. The macro and micro assessment methods will be particularly useful in other Blue Economy contexts and in other multiple product contexts.