Topics and projects of MCN

MCN e. V. helps to find partners for innovative projects and products. It is where experts exchange information on forward-looking topics and solutions. MCN creates exactly these dialogue platforms, and facilitates contact to other relevant industries and networks. MCN also supports members as they develop ideas, services and products in order to establish them on the market.

Here you can discover some of the projects supported by the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany.

ZIM anti-fouling network: Innovative solutions to biofouling problems

Excessive biofouling on ship hulls and in niches around rudders or propellers can significantly impair ship operation and even ship safety. In order to develop solutions against biofouling on underwater surfaces, a total of 21 small and medium-sized enterprises and research institutions have joined forces to form a ZIM innovation network, creating a promising pool of expertise in the field of anti-fouling. The Maritime Cluster Northern Germany contributes its know-how to the project as an associated member of the network.

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  • Completed

Innovation Competition "ZeroEmission@Berth"

Due to the use of fossil fuels during regular ship operation at sea and for generating electricity during the time in port, ships currently emit significant amounts of air pollutants as well as greenhouse gas emissions within an around the port area. For certain port locations, shore power systems operated with renewable energy offer a useful option to significantly reduce ship emissions while at berth. However, this is by no means the ideal way of reducing emissions at all port locations. This is why the German seaports wanted to get to know other solutions to operate ships at berth as climate-neutral and sustainable as possible. For this purpose, an innovation competition was initiated, which ended in September 2022.

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MCN's GreenOffshoreTech project develops sustainable, green innovations as part of a European network. The project focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises that use their innovative solutions to contribute to the realisation of the green deal in the maritime sector. The project consortium includes partners from 15 regions and seven countries across Europe (Norway, Portugal, Latvia, Poland, Iceland, United Kingdom, Germany).

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Inland navigation 4.0

Inland navigation is an important mode of transport in Europe. Compared to transport by road or rail, however, there are still considerable capacity reserves. Small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutions and associated partners are working closely together as part of ZIM’s innovation network Inland Navigation 4.0. The idea is to pursue innovative approaches and implement them as research and development projects in order to facilitate a more extensive use of inland navigation for the transport of goods.

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  • Collaboration possible

MN3D – ZIM Cooperation Network project for “3D printing in the maritime industry”

The increasing growth of industrial production using IT and the internet as well as the accompanying integration of the physical and digital worlds is playing an ever more important role in today’s economy. In terms of the maritime economy, additive manufacturing procedures will also gain increasing importance in the future. These procedures include processes that use digital construction data to construct a product or component by depositing material.

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greenCoPilot: improve traffic planning near the coast

Shipping accidents in coastal waters and sea regions near the coast always have a high potential for damage to the environment and people. Increasingly improved communication and automation contribute to the generation of synchronised traffic situation reports on board the involved ships and in the vessel traffic control centres. Centralised control offers the possibility of increasing the safety of shipping traffic and reducing waiting times when calling at ports. The project “Cooperative Pilotage für Schiffe und Leitsysteme” (greenCoPilot) develops a route planning system for ships.

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Green Meth: network for the use of methanol as a renewable energy source

Compliance with the ambitious climate targets formulated in the Paris Agreement also requires a transition from fossil fuels to fuels that are as carbon-neutral as possible in the shipping industry. In addition, far stricter exhaust gas limits will soon apply to other harmful emissions, such as sulphur oxides and particulate matter. The ZIM innovation network Green Meth, initiated by the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (MCN) and supported by the consulting company embeteco, is concerned with the development and market launch of methanol-based propulsion solutions for small ships.

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Blockchain for freight documents

Modern merchant shipping uses a large number of different documents in paper form. A joint project led by the Centre for Law of Information Society (ZRI) at the University of Oldenburg is now aiming to replace cargo-specific transport documents with their electronic equivalents. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has been funding the project entitled “Handelbarkeit physikalischer Güter durch digitale Token in Konsortialnetzwerken” (HAPTIK) (Tradability of physical goods by digital tokens in consortium networks) with 1.4 million euros over three years since the beginning of January 2019. Among the project partners are University of Oldenburg, the MCN member OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology as well as the logistics company Schenker AG.

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Precise measurements – efficient and clean driving

In the automotive industry, standardised, high-precision measuring systems to determine fuel consumption have been used for years. This is not the case in shipping. The adoption of tried-and-tested measurement techniques from the automotive industry in conjunction with the use of innovative expert and assistance systems would also make the operation of ships more efficient. This also applies to compliance with pollutant emissions. AVL List GmbH and the engineering firm HAWE rom Gifhorn have been pushing ahead with the development of this fuel consumption measurement system optimised to deliver accurate and precise measurements since mid-2017. Via the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (MCN) contact was established with a medium-sized shipping company, the MCN member company Reederei Rass.

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Specialist group Maritime Safety and Security: Fostering safe solutions to future challenges

The safety of the crew on board is an important concern. This also includes the development of suitable equipment. The continuous global increase in ocean-going traffic and the emergence of new technologies such as autonomous driving and alternative propulsion systems are constantly giving rise to new safety issues in shipping. The Maritime Safety and Security specialist group, launched in January 2018 and led by the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (MCN) regional office in the north German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, has made finding the right solutions to these emerging problems part of its mission.

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GreenShipping Niedersachsen: Giving way to Green Shipping

As the volume of ocean-going traffic continues to grow worldwide, the potential for the shipping industry to have a negative impact on the environment will increase. Developing smart approaches for more resourcesaving and eco-friendly shipping as well as supportingcompanies as they transition to greener technologies are the aims of the GreenShipping Niedersachsen project, which has been running since August 2015 with the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany as one of its main management organisations. Promoting related research is also one of the project’s core tasks.

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Mittelstand 4.0-Competence-Center Bremen: The digital countdown has started

Digital transformation is creating new winners and losers. Digitalisation is transforming entire economic sectors, challenging traditional business models, forcing old actors out and bringing new ones into play. The process of digital transformation along the entire value chain is also picking up speed in the maritime economy. Blockchain, artificial intelligence and robotics are some of the buzzwords of the hour – even if not everyone understands exactly how they work or what their impacts will be. The Mittelstand 4.0-Kompetenzzentrum Bremen provides start-up assistance and supports maritime small and medium-sized enterprises in their digitalisation strategies.

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Titan: Construction plan for the virtual control station

The transition fromconventional production based predominantly on analogue processes to the requirements of a digitised and automated Industry 4.0 presents major challenges to many small and medium- sized enterprises. Fearing risks and costs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often hesitate to take the necessary steps to digitise their workflows vigorously enough. The Titan project is helping small and medium-sized manufacturing companies master digitisation by gradually introducing software.

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The 3D-Printing revolution arrives in the maritime industry

3D printing technology is only beginning to have an impact in the maritime sector. Nevertheless, there are clear signs that additive manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly important in the maritime industry. Having recognised this early on, the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (MCN) has been actively involved with this topic since 2017. In September 2018, the MCN’s Hamburg branch office launched a collaborative networking project for “3D Printing in the Maritime Industry”.

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The SCAS network – Systems and Components for Autonomous Ships

The SCAS network is dedicated to the realisation of systems, components, sensors, communication services and technologies for semi- or fully autonomous ships. The focus of the network is not just on the full autonomy of the vessels, but in particular on technologies that can be employed on semi-autonomous ships, such as nautical assistance systems for automated mooring. Another focus is on systems that make autonomous ship operation possible in the first place.

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EcoShip60: Innovative propulsion and energy systems for ships up to 60 metres in length

In shipbuilding, a large portion of research has so far been concentrated exclusively on alternative propulsion systems for larger ship types with an output of around 4,000 kilowatts or more. There is no systematic, holistic or sustainable approach to developing alternative propulsion systems for smaller ship types with significantly lower outputs and lengths of less than 60 metres. The EcoShip60 network is helping to close this gap. A total of 17 companies and research institutions from all over Northern Germany have joined forces in the network, including members of the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany.

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“Munitect” – international leadership via network

Even decades after the end of the war, old munitions in the North Sea and Baltic Sea pose an incalculable risk in terms of economic use. Detecting, recovering or defusing the warfare agents has so far been difficult and very costly. The Munitect network, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), has set itself the goal of improving this situation – an association of companies and research institutions that aim to advance the development and deployment of cost-effective sensor systems for munitions detection and bring them to market.

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