News: The UK ranks as number 1 for blue technology globally

By: Harvey Tebay

Communications and Events Officer
htebay@maritimeuk.org

Blue tech


The MIT Technology Review's Blue Technology Barometer has ranked the UK as the number 1 country globally, scoring 7.83. The Blue Technology Barometer is a ranking of 66 coastal countries and territories on their progress and commitment toward protecting ocean sustainability.

The purpose of the report was to see where and how ‘blue technologies’ are being engaged to further efforts to clean up the oceans, reduce sea-related carbon emissions, and make maritime economic activities more economically and environmentally viable. Blue technologies are defined as “technology or tech-enabled processes that can help mitigate the effects of climate change or restore health to marine ecosystems”. There are three main contexts in which this is being achieved:

  • Science and nature-based approaches to reduce pollution and address environmental degradation, such as microbial biotechnology approaches or “carbon-negative” polymers to take on the challenge of accumulating ocean plastics.
  • Attempts to increase decarbonization, either through directly removing carbon dioxide from the ocean or using the ocean as a “platform” for renewable energy.
  • The creation and management of information and insight into maritime commercial activities, through sensors and AI-enabled analytics.

The United Kingdom ranks first, in large part because of its blue technology ecosystem.

The report cites that the UK is ranked as number one due to its “blue technology ecosystem and its leadership position in offshore renewable energy facilities, which includes the world’s largest offshore wind farm, a 50-megawatt facility off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The UK is also committed to fishing and marine conservation activities and has made modest but significant progress on reducing carbon dioxide from marine activities.”

The UK scores the highest within the innovation pillar which assesses the countries' contribution to sustainable ocean technology research and development, including expenditure, patents, and start-ups. This comes as the UK Government recently announced the winners for the £23m Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) and revealed an extension to the competition in the Chancellor's Autumn Budget, promising the maritime sector a share of £300m. The CMDC aims to support the design and development of technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the UK’s maritime sector as set out in the Clean Maritime Plan and support the transition to Net Zero by 2050.

Furthermore, within the sustainable marine activity pillar, the UK also scores high being placed at 9th. This pillar ranks each country on the sustainability of its marine activities, including shipping, fishing, and protecting the seas. 

Read the report here: https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/11/22/1040367/the-blue-technology-barometer/