Portugal Blue Technology
The ocean facing geography of Portugal supports this country as a leading market for Blue Technology.
Portugal’s extended coastline in the most western part of Europe has a goal to position itself as the European hub for maritime innovation. The Portuguese Government is committed to protecting the ocean and its economy with the objective of doubling the size of the Blue Economy to 5% of gross domestic product by year end 2020.
With a coastline of 1,187 km and the fifth largest exclusive economic zone in Europe, Portugal is part of the European Commission target policies to stimulate knowledge and sustainable exploitation of the oceans. The growth and potential in blue technologies is undeniable, with increasing sea based research projects, the majority of which are sustained by EU funds. This creates an optimistic scenario for ocean researchers and projects, attracting innovative solutions to the market, in areas such as biotechnology, renewable energies, mineral resources and aquaculture.
A prosperous maritime economy for Portugal would involve potential opportunities in:
- ocean biodiversity
- renewable energy sources
- modern and highly qualified research centers
- maritime transport and ports
- fishing resources
- among other new uses that the sea may have in the future.
According to the Ministry of Sea’s Blue Economy Observatory, when comparing 2018 to 2015, the exports of marine goods increased by 25%, Blue Economy companies’ GVA raised by 30% and the Merchant Navy by 94%, clearly reflecting the rapid acceleration of the Blue Economy in Portugal.
Indeed, the analysis of the Ministry of Sea’s Blue Economy Observatory demonstrates a route of clear sustained growth. The GVA growth rate of Blue Economy companies in 2017 is 14.94%, almost twice the growth rate of the GVA of National Economy companies (7.85%) in the previous legislature, which illustrates the development drive that the Portuguese Maritime Sector has known throughout this term.
The growth of port and cruise activity, and the merchant navy, played a big part in those number, with a 56% increase in “Roll on-Roll off” cargo movement and a 20% increase in the containerized cargo movement allied with a passenger increase of 21% and a rise on the exports of fishing products, corresponding to an increase of almost 200 million euros in the volume of exports, in the same period, combined with the raised by 94% in the number of vessels and 269% in the deadweight tonnage.
Jointly with the Luso-American Foundation, the Ministry of the sea created the Bluetech Accelerator, with incentives and access to a “Blue Fund” of around Euro 30 million as an incentive for Bluetech start-ups. Bluetech Accelerator is part of the Ocean Portugal program, with the goal of creating an innovation ecosystem in the Portuguese Sea Economy.
BioMimetx, a startup dedicated to the production of antimicrobial paint that stops organisms like algae from growing on ship hulls, reducing underwater drag and improving fuel efficiency, valued between €6m and €10m, is an example an example an exa of the opportunities lying beneath Portugal’s water.
Examples of Portuguese Bluetech companies are:
Bitcliq — a blockchain-powered global marketplace for fish trading. Bitcliq had an active participation in the Bluetech Week in San Diego in 2018;
Undersee — producer of underwater sensors, to enable precision aquaculture via precision water quality monitoring;
Bluemater— chemical free, wastewater treatment through microalgae, working with Portugal’s state-owned water company;
Sensefinity — “Internet of Cargo” technology provider, allowing global tracking of goods in shipping.
Sources: https://www.compete2020.gov.pt/ https://www.compete2020.gov.pt/newsletter/detalhe/NL_Economia_Azul https://www.dgpm.mm.gov.pt/blue-economy-observatory