WEAMEC: research, training and innovation for MREs in the Pays de la Loire region
WEAMEC brings together more than 25 institutes and labs, which means more than 300 people involved in research, innovation and training activities, with major players such as Centrale Nantes, the University of Nantes, the IRT Jules Verne or CEA Tech, for example.
The WEAMEC ecosystem is further boosted by the involvement of about 80 companies involved in the MRE sector with major players in ship building (DCNS, STX), energy providers (EDF, ENGIE), turbine and integrated MRE device developers and manufacturers (GE) or major component manufacturers (ROLLIX which exports worldwide), and many SMEs in the NEOPOLIA MRE cluster.
WEAMEC was founded by Centrale Nantes and its main partners: the University of Nantes, the EMC2 cluster, and IRT Jules Verne. It also benefits from the support of the Pays de la Loire Region, the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), Nantes Métropole, and the CARENE (Saint-Nazaire and Estuary Regional Urban Community).
Background to the creation of WeAMEC
Following a process of extensive collective deliberations undertaken on the initiative of the Pays de la Loire Region with a view to structuring and boosting the MRE sector in the region, protecting its jobs and increasing its visibility, a joint strategy was defined by the stakeholders in research, training and innovation.
This led directly to the official launch of the West Atlantic Marine Energy Center on 19th May 2015 in Nantes on the sidelines of the National Conference of the Syndicat des Énergies Renouvelables (SER).
A collective approach with ambitious objectives
The overarching goal is to better structure the services on offer and make them more attractive on a regional and international scale.
A road map (2015-2020) sets out the way forward, the means and the actions to be implemented, each stakeholder (high education establishments, research bodies, local authorities, industrial stakeholders, clusters etc) committed to the process according to its field of competence.
To this end, the strategy is built on industrial needs and sets out objectives for the medium term across the full MRE cycle, with four key priorities:
- Develop fixed wind turbines, in particular in extreme and complex conditions (hard ground, heavy swell etc)
- Speed up the transition from fixed to floating structures.
- Take the lead on newer MRE technologies, such as tidal energy, ocean thermal energy and tidal power
- Develop innovative technological components for these different technologies.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
WeAMEC is also playing an active role in innovation and relies on three partners: EMC2 (founding partner), PMBA and S2E2, whose respective expertise in innovative production methods, ocean engineering and electrical engineering combine perfectly to cover the entire value chain.
WEAMEC's partners take part in over 100 joint projects worth over €50 million euros.
A first WEAMEC call for projects was made in early 2016 to co-finance 11 academic research projects involving regional laboratories.
A second call for projects was opened in January 2017.
WEAMEC registers and evaluates training related to this topic, but also participates in the development of new training courses on Marine Renewable Energies. The objective is to meet the growing needs for skills and the increase in job creation in this field.
The network around MRE training now represents:
- Training from operator- to engineer-level across all MRE fields
- 15 master and engineering courses covering all marine sciences
- Initial education for more than 300 students / year
- More than 20 executive education modules, developed and coordinated by Centrale Nantes and the University of Nantes:
- Learn more about MRE Executive Education
- RESEARCH FACILITIES
- INDUSTRIAL CHAIRS AND JOINT LABORATORIES
- PATENTS AND SOFTWARE
- RESEARCH, TRAINING AND INNOVATION PROGRAMMES
- FAB LAB
- CENTRALE INNOVATION
- INCUBATOR AND STARTUPS