The CEA Tech, R&D arm of CEA1, has been particularly active in the field of the marine renewable energies, and has an office in Nantes. Meet Philippe Baclet, the company’s regional director for technology transfer.
What is the role of the new CEA Tech offices?
“CEA Tech is the technology research arm of CEA1. It employs 4,500 engineers with expertise in several domains: sensors, electronics, new energy technologies, embedded systems, advanced production techniques and so on. The scope of our research is extremely wide-ranging, and touches all industrial fields. Principally based in Grenoble, Chambery, and Paris, CEA Tech also has offices in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region. Harmonization of the regional business ecosystem is now underway, with new installations from the beginning of 2013 in Midi-Pyrenees, Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire, and, more recently, in Lorraine2.”
Why has Nantes and the Pays de la Loire been preferentially chosen as a priority region?
“It’s a region with a strong, dense industrial infrastructure, and several important sectors: agriculture, aviation, shipbuilding, and the marine renewable energies. There is also an ecosystem for innovation with the professional network needed to sustain it already in place. The support of the Pays de la Loire Region was also a decisive factor.”
What knowledge and experience does CEA Tech bring to the marine renewables sector?
“The CEA has complementary skills to several local players, with its expertise in:
innovative systems of energy storage, notably with respect to our ability to conduct tests at high power and large volume;
Non-destructive testing of large-scale components using X-ray tomography;
Cobotic (co-operative robotic) handling, especially in the construction of large structures;
Instrumentation for surveillance and age-monitoring of large structures;
Analysis and vectorization of big data in plant and equipment monitoring.”
What projects are you currently undertaking with players in the regional marine renewables sector?
“We have established three significant projects with local partners. We’re working with the Jules Verne Institute of Research and Technology on non-destructive testing, with the IFSTTAR (The French institute of science and technology for transport, development and networks) on engineering strain in large structures and cables, and with the Ecole Centrale de Nantes on the storage of marine renewable energy.“
CEA Tech will attend Thétis EMR3. What do you hope to gain from it?
“It’s a big event, and a good opportunity to obtain concise and authoritative updates across the whole field of the marine renewable energies. It’s also an important moment for meeting and networking with other players in the sector, and to understand where CEA Tech’s expertise can help to unblock technological obstacles to progress.“
1 Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives.(Commissariat for atomic energy and alternative energies)
2 The French prime minister Manuel Valls also recently announced that another branch would be established in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region.
3 CEA Tech will be one of the exhibitors sharing the Pays de la Loire’s stand at Thétis EMR.
Further information: www.cea.fr/english-portal