Aerial photo of the Port of San Diego. Courtesy of the port

The Port of San Diego and the U.S. Navy will cooperate to advance innovation involving the Blue Economy in the San Diego region, under a new agreement between the Port and the western division of the Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

The Blue Economy has been defined as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystems.

On Sept. 25, the Port and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport entered into a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) to help drive Blue Economy innovation in the San Diego region through cooperation and sharing of information with local small businesses and educational institutions.

“The Port of San Diego’s leadership in the Blue Economy is well established with our cargo, shipbuilding and fishing industries, and now we are leading the way into the next generation of opportunities on our dynamic waterfront,” said Port of San Diego Chairman Rafael Castellanos. “I am pleased that we have achieved one of the goals I set this year of coming to an agreement with the U.S. Navy to further drive innovation in San Diego Bay.”

“Our role in the arrangement with the Port of San Diego is to provide expertise, and collaborate, where possible, in developing ocean technologies that may benefit the US Navy,” said Jay Cavalieri, NUWC Division, Keyport Deputy Customer Advocate. “This arrangement allows the Port of San Diego to identify possible technologies, and together we will work to develop a plan to test, evaluate and transition those technologies to the Fleet. This PIA is really a starting point for future efforts and I’m excited about the partnership because it allows Keyport to gain a different view into non-traditional companies and ideas.  Our Ballast Point Facility is a perfect location to test and evaluate some of those emerging technologies.”

The Port’s Blue Economy Incubator was established in 2016 as part of efforts to continue leading and accelerating the Blue Economy. This initiative seeks to support the creation, early development, and initial scaling of new Blue Economy business ventures along San Diego Bay – aligning with the Port’s public trust missions, especially those of championing the environment and developing commerce and fisheries. Under the program, the Port is providing seed investment funds and expertise to support entrepreneurship, foster sustainable aquaculture, and help drive blue tech innovation. Through strategic partnerships, the Blue Economy Incubator seeks to develop partnerships to build a portfolio of businesses that can deliver social, environmental and economic benefits to the region.

Under the new agreement, the Port will look for opportunities for incubator proposers to utilize NUWC Division, Keyport’s local test facilities, technology, and other services.  NUWC Division, Keyport will also seek to steer potential proposers to the Port’s incubator. The focus of this effort will be on small businesses and educational institutions in the San Diego region.

NUWC Division, Keyport could share its considerable expertise to provide technology-related assistance to such companies, who might be able to license some of the technologies developed by NUWC Division, Keyport.

NUWC Division, Keyport is a federal laboratory of the U.S. Department of the Navy, and it provides the Naval fleet with warfare systems, engineering logistics, and testing and evaluation products and services. One of its facilities is on San Diego Bay. Providing ready support to Fleet operational forces at all major Navy home ports in the Pacific, NUWC Division, Keyport also maintains detachments in San Diego at the entrance of the Bay.

Pilot projects currently supported through the Port’s Blue Economy Incubator are ranging from shellfish nursery operations, to copper remediation technology, a drive-in Boatwash, a smart marina App, a marine debris removal vessel, and seaweed aquaculture.

–Port of San Diego

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