Ocean Idea Challenge – Statements

Ocean industry experts and thought leaders have identified the following Challenge Statements as potential areas of focus for program participants

Renewable Ocean Energy

Canada’s extensive coastlines and marine resources offer a vast, untapped potential for renewable energy generation, including wave, tidal, and offshore wind energy. Embracing these resources can significantly contribute to Canada’s energy mix, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This shift towards renewable ocean energy is aligned with Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Innovating in this domain can position Canada as a global leader in sustainable energy technologies, fostering economic growth, and creating new job opportunities.

Innovation opportunities: 

  • Develop a marine life monitoring system for the offshore renewable energy industry that could be used, for example, to monitor disruptions to marine habitats, to enable aquaculture farming around offshore wind platforms, and to decrease fish and marine life mortality by employing predictive analytics
  • Design a data analytics and AI-enhanced platform that optimizes the performance of marine renewable energy systems
  • Develop an embeddable sensor to monitor the performance of offshore renewable energy assets

Sustainable Seafood 

The fishing and aquaculture industries are cornerstones of the Canadian economy, especially in coastal and rural communities. Advancements in sustainable practices are imperative to ensure the long-term viability of fish stocks, minimise environmental impacts, and adhere to increasingly stringent international sustainability standards. Canada’s leadership in sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices can enhance its global market share, particularly in premium markets that value sustainability, and offers significant commercial opportunity for innovative startups.

Innovation opportunities: 

  • Design cost-effective water treatment and management systems for aquaculture farms that support responsible and viable growth of the sector, particularly as it relates to land-based and recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)
  • Develop a system to measure the effectiveness of bioremediation impacts of shellfish and other aquaculture on the health of aquatic ecosystems
  • Develop an innovative machine or process that targets high-value seaweed species to increase their harvest potential, reduce labour demands, and maintain the seaweed’s integrity
  • Develop an innovative diagnostic tool for early detection and identification of diseases in fish and seafood
  • Develop a data analytics platform to support management decisions related to rearing and production, and to respond to the environmental challenges in the aquaculture industry

Decarbonized Shipping and Marine Transportation

Canada’s maritime sector, integral to its economy and global trade, stands at the forefront of environmental challenges and opportunities. Factually, the maritime industry is a notable contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, with shipping accounting for approximately 2.89% of global CO2 emissions, as per the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This reality, coupled with Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and national emissions reduction targets, underscores the urgent need for innovation in decarbonized shipping and marine transportation. Pioneering new technologies in this sector is not only vital for environmental sustainability but also for maintaining economic competitiveness. Canada’s potential lies in embracing advancements in alternative fuels, energy-efficient ship designs, and sustainable port operations. These innovations are essential for reducing the maritime sector’s carbon footprint and aligning with global efforts towards a low-carbon future.

Innovation opportunities: 

  • Develop a solution to improve fuel, propulsion, and/or bunkering technology to make ships more efficient and safer for the environment
  • Create a solution for clean fuel storage and distribution at ports
  • Create a real-time monitoring system for biofouling that helps increase the efficiency of marine vessels 

Marine Bioresources and Biotechnology

Marine bioresource companies create new value from resources within the marine environment and support additional value creation for operators in fisheries and aquaculture. Businesses and consumers are quickly realizing that there are many valuable products that can be derived or manufactured from marine resources, such as high-quality additives for food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, coatings, and even pet treats. There are additional opportunities to create a circular economy by utilizing the byproducts of fisheries and aquaculture processing (fish and shellfish waste) to create higher-value products. Sustainable aquaculture of fish and seafood can help feed the world’s growing population. For that to happen, new, safe and effective tools and technologies are needed to address animal health, nutrition and production. More effective prevention and treatment methods as well as diagnostics and monitoring tools are required to detect, prevent or treat bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases. Increased aquaculture production also equates to a growing demand for raw material feedstocks and a desire for novel, sustainable, and locally sourced feed ingredients.

Innovation Opportunities:

  • Develop a new product and/or service that leverages or enhances the co-benefit values of macroalgae
  • Develop a method to repurpose shellfish waste into, for example, biomass production or fish processing waste into value-added products
  • Develop closed-loop systems to prevent marine effluent discharge from various industries
  • Discover a new therapeutic that incorporates natural marine and marine life products, with selective activity against virus strains and that is non-toxic to mammalian cell lines

Climate Resilience

Coastal cities cover roughly 356,000km of global coastline, and around 40% of earth’s population live within 40 kilometres of a coast. As an ocean nation, Canada is at risk of experiencing increasingly severe impacts of climate events disrupting people and communities, and massive economic loss. But Canada is also a country with great potential to foster new ideas and innovations to mitigate climate change and support coastal communities with climate adaptation. 

Innovation opportunities: 

  • Develop a low-cost and easy-to-deploy sea level and sea state monitoring system that provides real-time data and decision-making analytics for remote, northern or coastal communities 
  • Develop an innovative AI/machine learning-driven solution to accurately monitor and forecast risks and impacts (loss and damage) of climate change, such as sea level rise, flooding, and natural disasters like hurricanes or tsunamis. 

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