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NARLabs and Academia Sinica Sign Cooperation Agreement for Ocean Energy and Marine Technology R&D

On Earth Day, April 22, 2021, President Tsai Ing-wen asserted that the 2050 net-zero transition is a goal for the world, and a goal for Taiwan. To achieve this goal, the government is committed to promoting the development of renewable energy, which can not only increase Taiwan's proportion of self-produced energy, but also help maintain energy security. The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) strives to promote renewable energy-related research, while NARLabs implements NSTC policy by assisting renewable energy R&D with scientific and technological resources. On March 28, NARLabs and Academia Sinica signed a cooperation agreement on ocean energy and marine science and technology R&D in hopes that both parties can work together in the field of ocean energy and accelerate the progression of zero-carbon electricity in Taiwan.

Taiwan's eastern coast borders the Pacific Ocean, and there, the Kuroshio Current flows through Taiwan's waters. This strong and stable ocean current is a renewable energy source and a key solution for helping Taiwan reach net-zero emissions.

President James C. Liao of Academia Sinica and President Faa-Jeng Lin of NARLabs signed the cooperation agreement between the two parties during a ceremony held at Academia Sinica's Institute of Earth Sciences, which was witnessed by NSTC Vice Minister Tzong-Chyuan Chen. Vice Minister Chen stated that the 2050 net-zero goal is a cross-generation, cross-discipline, and multinational large-scale transformative project, and it is also the longest-ranging inter-ministerial development plan in Taiwan's history, which not only concerns Taiwan's competitiveness but also environmental sustainability. NSTC recently proposed eight major frontier research areas, one of which is Net Zero Technology. Vice Minister Chen expects that the cooperation between NARLabs and Academia Sinica can strengthen the country's ocean research, comprehensively enhance Taiwan's marine science and technology R&D, facilitate marine resource development through innovative technology, conserve the marine environment, and sustainably protect Taiwan.

President Liao indicated that Academia Sinica considers ocean energy to be a key frontier energy source, especially when it comes to power generation by ocean currents such as the Kuroshio. Therefore, in addition to recommending the government to promote ocean energy in its Strategic Recommendations for Science and Technology Actions towards Net Zero Emission in Taiwan last year, Academia Sinica also established a special center for ocean energy under its Research Center for Environmental Changes. President Liao expressed hope that through cooperation with NARLabs' Taiwan Ocean Research Institute (TORI), an environmental survey of Taiwan's eastern waters can be completed as soon as possible, so that we can not only understand the current's power generation potential in more detail, but also identify suitable sites for underwater power generators.

President Lin stated that NARLabs' mission is to provide key national technologies and facilities as well as R&D platform services to support Taiwan's research activities. Among these includes TORI's R/V Legend, a key vessel for marine surveys, especially in the deep sea. Under the national goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, NARLabs is pleased to be part of the ocean energy research team in collaboration with Academia Sinica. NARLabs believes that this cooperation will bring about globally competitive R&D results in marine technology, especially that for ocean energy.

As ocean energy is a frontier energy source that has yet to be developed, especially in the field of environmental science, thorough understanding is necessary before reliable assessment of suitable sites, potential, and power generation can be made. Therefore, NARLabs and Academia Sinica are promptly starting an exchange of personnel, technology, and research facilities to cooperate in accelerating the promotion of key ocean technologies, especially in the hope of facilitating the early development and utilization of ocean energy so that Taiwan can achieve the goal of net-zero emissions as swiftly as possible.