Blue Economy: Emerging technological challenges
Following on from last year’s discussions on the blue economy, this year’s IMarEST Annual Conference will delve deeper into the technological advances that will be instrumental to its continued development.
The engineering skills and techniques honed in the oil and gas industry to extract fossil fuels are being repurposed for the construction of offshore wind farms and other marine renewables. Mining the seabed for rare earth metals essential to electric cars and smartphones appears to be on the verge of becoming a practical reality.
As shipping lines embrace digitalisation, cargo can be transported by sea more safely and efficiently than ever before. The development of autonomous vessels continues apace but poses some tricky questions. And as the industry pivots to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, we can expect substantial innovation in ship propulsion.
Unmanned drones and satellites allow scientists to study the oceans in greater detail and conservationists to keep track of and protect marine wildlife. They also offer regulators new possibilities for monitoring vessel emissions or illegal fishing.
We also turn to technology to clean up after ourselves, whether containing oil spills or, more recently, gathering up the millions of tonnes of micro plastic that now permeates the oceans and the life they hold. But is this really the best way forward or should we be tackling these problems at their source?
While technology is in itself neutral, the purposes for which we choose to apply it – determined by a complex and often unpredictable interplay of commercial, political and societal forces – are anything but. There is a danger that in our eagerness to deploy the latest solutions, we sometimes fail to consider the full implications of technology – whether on its users or on the environment. And such is the pace of progress, it can be hard for regulators to keep up.
The speakers lined up for the 2020 IMarEST Annual Conference will explore how technology has shaped and is shaping activities in their specialist field and reflect on the much broader question: do we place too much faith in technology to solve all our problems?
- Ocean Plastics
- Maritime Autonomous
- Surface Ships
- Human Element
- Naval Engineering
- Marine Mammals
- Women’s Network
Conference hashtag: #imarestAC20