WAGENINGEN – The Dutch maritime research institute MARIN offers small and mid-sized companies free rein to test their innovative ideas. It grants 5 SMEs €40,000 each in tank tests and access to its staff _ both free of charge.
The annual initiative enables SMEs to research a new maritime concept, see if it works and if it can be improved. The free tank tests can be used only to try out new ideas and concepts, not to optimize existing ones. MARIN restricts the tests to companies of under 250 people and have an annual turnover of maximum €50 million.
The MARIN program offers an early glimpse of what lies ahead.
Successful concepts in recent years included the Hull Vane (a below-the-transom foil that saves fuel and improves seakeeping), the Ocean Cleanup project (whose floating barriers grab currents-driven garbage), Galatea (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle research into fin propulsion) and the AntiRoll (the dual axis roll damping system that steadies a boat underway and at anchor).
MARIN is the world’s largest independent maritime research organization. It works for Dutch and foreign ship owners, yards and energy companies. MARIN’s Jaap de Wilde says “we started the tank test program to offer something to small and mid-sized companies. Every year, 20 apply but we only accommodate 5. It is a €200,000 commitment on our part.”
MARIN offers 2 weeks of tank testing in its Concept Basin or Shallow Water Basin, including assistance from experienced MARIN staffers. MARIN estimates candidates invest between €20,000 and €30,000 of their own money in additional costs for such as for model making, project reporting and analysis.
Candidates become the owner of the tank tests which remain confidential. The program is open only open to Dutch companies, but MARIN may consider admitting a foreign SME, says De Wilde.