Leading research and innovation
The North East is home to world-leading research centres in offshore renewables, subsea technologies, energy systems integration, energy materials and innovations towards a net-zero carbon future.
The region is leading the world in developing innovative solutions to overcome the issues when exploiting new oil, gas and offshore wind resources in more challenging environments.
In-house innovation and R&D is flourishing in companies such as Baker Hughes, Technip FMC, BelValves, SMD, Osbit and IHC. These and others also make use of the world-leading R&D and testing assets located in North East England
The region’s energy innovation and demonstration asset base is united through a ground breaking cross-sector partnership, the North East Energy Catalyst. These assets include:
- Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult – The UK’s flagship renewable energy technology innovation and research centre is a unique facility, located at Blyth, that offers the most comprehensive open access and independent test and research facilities anywhere in the world. It is capable of testing the world’s largest wind turbines and longest wind turbine blades.
- Tyne Pressure Testing – brings together industry and academia to create a leading national centre for offshore and subsea engineering research and testing. It is aimed at developing new technologies using the unique array of six hyperbaric chamber and environmental test facilities which are capable of testing technologies and materials at temperatures and pressures equivalent to those found at the very deepest ocean depths (up to 6,000m).
- Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials – the facility includes a newly refurbished Emerson Cavitation Tunnel, an experimental facility used to test propellers and turbine blades that is the only one of its kind in the UK.
- Marine Testing Facility (Wet Dock) Swans Energy Park – The wet dock is supported by developed infrastructure heavy lifting capabilities. It measures 56 meters wide and 194 meters long with a half-tide 2.5m deep dock, suitable for construction projects, barge/ RoRo load-outs, lay by and marine testing.
- Maritime 2050 Innovation Hub – The UK’s first 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub, is an exciting partnership with Port of Tyne, Drax, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC), Nissan, Connected Places Catapult, Accenture, Royal HaskoningDHV, Ubisoft and the Department for Transport. The 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub inspires partners to collaborate to develop solutions to technological challenges facing the maritime sector and the wider logistics industry both nationally and globally.
Key development sites with access to deep water
The region boasts a superb portfolio of high-quality industrial development sites, all with easy access to deepwater ports and many with Enterprise Zone (EZ) benefits such as enhanced capital allowances for investment in plant and machinery.
Sites include the Neptune Energy Park on the River Tyne, with EZ designated development land available for energy firms and home to an existing cluster of specialist companies such as JDR Cables and Bridon-Bekaert.
Energy Central based around Port of Blyth, Northumberland, is a deepwater energy base with nearly 200ha of strategic quay-linked development land. The Port of Blyth has an exciting cluster of energy-related companies including Royal IHC, Enshore Subsea and Osbit as well as being home to the first offshore wind farm in the UK and the National Offshore Renewable Energy Centre Catapult research facility.
Tyne Clean Energy Park – Provides a unique co-location opportunity for the renewables sector with unrestricted 24/7 marine access. The Port of Tyne’s new clean energy park will play an important role in supporting the government’s goal to power every UK home with offshore wind electricity.
The A&P Tyne Shipyard has the largest commercial dry dock on England’s east coast, with two deepwater berths and modern fabrication facilities complete with a panel line, rolling, plasma and gas burning machines.
There are other key EZ sites on the Tyne at Royal Quays, Swans and at Tyne Dock (part of the Port of Tyne’s Tyne Clean Energy Park) as well as a large EZ site and significant operational capacity at the Port of Sunderland. IAMP in Sunderland and Jade Business Park in Northumberland don’t have riverside access but can support the supply chain and offshore sector.