Multi-Use at Sea Hackathon for Nordic Collaboration
The hackathon competitors and organizers
The Iceland Ocean Cluster organized from 6th to 7th of October 2023 a Nordic cross-border hackathon in the capital city of Reykjavik. Competitors from all over the Nordic region were selected to participate, and from Finland Emelie Toppari and Joni Toppari were chosen to represent EnergyVaasa. This Finnish team also represented the MAREN project.The hackathon focused on themes related to sustainability, marine energy, aquaculture, Nordic cooperation, and multi-usage. The official challenge for the competitors was the following: "How can we design a viable and sustainable multi-use concept at sea that facilitates co-existence in the Nordic Ocean space?". The aim of the hackathon was to translate theory into practice by co-creating and brainstorming ideas related to the challenge.
Nordic Collaboration in the Ocean Space
The competitors had diverse backgrounds, ranging from engineering and business to aquaculture and geology. All competitors represented a Nordic country. They were divided into teams based on shared interests in specific topics, such as renewable energy solutions or fish farming.The hackathon was funded by Nordic Innovation and was primarily held at the office premises of the Iceland Ocean Cluster. The Iceland Ocean Cluster serves as a network connector and innovation hub for new ideas and businesses in Iceland. The cluster connects sectors and research, industry, and science to create sustainable value in the blue economy. The site itself houses more than 65 companies.
Hackathon Day 1
The two hackathon days had different programs. On the first day, competitors had the opportunity to explore and learn more about the Icelandic blue economy, gaining inspiration for the innovation process. They visited many interesting and relevant marine companies, traveling all the way from Reykjavik to Grindavik. The tour began at HS Orka, where the company's energy & resource park was presented. The journey continued to Aurora Abalone, where Circle Feed and seaweed production were explained. Afterward, the competitors received a guided tour of Matorka's land-based Arctic char farming facilities. Before returning to the Iceland Ocean Cluster, the group visited Iceland Eco-Business Park, where a workshop was held, and competitors had the opportunity to see a real example of a green co-location project. Back at the Iceland Ocean Cluster, industry experts shared their knowledge and best tips for the upcoming competition.
The competitors visiting Matorka's land-based Arctic char farming facilities
Hackathon Day 2
The second part of the hackathon was the innovation and competition day. The teams started early in the morning and continued their innovation process, building on what they had started the previous evening. Mentors from various industries in the maritime sector supported the competitors with advice, tips, and tricks. The pitch session was an open event, and the audience was filled with people interested in Nordic collaboration and the marine industry. Among the audience were two representatives from the Finnish ambassador.
All the teams presented their ideas and received feedback from the judges and the audience. The ideas ranged from repurposing old oil rigs to data storage solutions to sludge usage, to name a few. The EnergyVaasa team presented a multi-use Nordic collaboration ecosystem where oil rigs would be used for vertical farming research in a biosecure environment, powered by wind energy produced at sea. The winning team consisted of members from Norway, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands. This team presented a circular bio economy management system of aquaculture activities, based on waste management.
Preparations for the pitching session
The hackathon provided excellent networking opportunities between competitors and companies from all the Nordic countries. It was also a valuable opportunity to generate new ideas for multi-use at sea and shed new light on the topic. Nordic Innovation funds the MAREN II project, of which VASEK is a part, and Nordic collaboration is of great importance to the Energy Cluster in the Vaasa region.
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