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The future lies beneath the waves

06/07/2013

ACCIONA Infrastructure is building the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (Spanish acronym PLOCAN), its main marine scientific and technology infrastructure. The Platform is set to become a testing ground for Spanish and international projects and aims primarily at optimizing marine resources.

This cutting-edge structure is a showcase of innovation, not only for its installations but also its workings and services. When completed, it will house workshops, labs, a communications center, a range of instruments, and an underwater testing tank. This seabound scientific platform will be carrying out two projects commissioned by the European Commission scheduled to get under way in summer of 2014.

Activities

The Oceanic Platform will be the setting for a long and varied list of activities, such as tests and trials involving renewable energies, second-generation aquaculture (marine farming), underwater mining and the overall utilization and management of ocean-bed resources, as well as serving as an oceanic observatory.

A versatile infrastructure

PLOCAN concentrates and operates in the same place a number of elements that are usually designed and built independently, such as a marine observatory; a vehicle, machinery and marine instruments depot, and a test-bench.

It will provide support for activities aimed at leveraging the ocean's potential for energy resources and developing so-called "Blue Growth", a long-term strategy aimed at developing aquaculture, biotechnology, renewable energy and other marine resources. PLOCAN will be permanently anchored 1.3km off the coast of the Canary Isles (a Spanish archipelago located off the northwest coast of continental Africa) and in 30m-deep waters, between the "Las Terrazas" shopping mall and the Las Palmas- Teide water treatment plant.

No ordinary construction

A reinforced concrete structure will be built underwater to support the platform. Up to as many as one hundred people will be involved at times in this part of the construction phase, as well as external suppliers, such as electromechanical components suppliers, ports specialists and local auxiliary industry players. PLOCAN being a singular structure, its construction will be a multi-stage process, and highly-qualified personnel will be needed to build and position the concrete caisson.

entirely by ACCIONA Engineering with a highly-qualified multidisciplinary team that is certain to carry out this ground-breaking initiative successfully and in record time

Safety first

The Ocean Platform is equipped with maritime traffic alert and detection systems, radio and satellite communications equipment, 24/7 video-camera security and a heliport for emergency evacuation. PLOCAN has been designed to stand up to the harshest conditions and is capable of generating its own electricity for up to two weeks thanks to diesel generators (995 liters each) and two auxiliary fuel tanks each with a capacity of 25,000 liters.

In all, the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands has agreed or is currently conducting projects with 108 organizations, of which 58 are international and 52% are businesses.

  • Execution: 12 months
  • Service life: 20 years
  • Dimensions: 37,95m long
  • The budget: 22 million
  • Floor space: 2.500 m2
  • The platform: 20 metric tons

Public Procurement of Innovation

At a time when budget restrictions abound, there is a vital need for public contracts for innovative products and services to raise quality and efficiency standards in public services. This is where Public Procurement of Innovation comes into its own as a means of stepping up governments' role in driving business innovation.

Current EU directives on procurement take a flexible approach and allow contracting authorities to use tenders as a way of favoring innovation, thus encouraging industry to seek out new, cutting-edge solutions.

Competitive engagement

In Spain, Public Procurement of Innovation was introduced in 2007 and is regulated by Law 30/2007 on Public Sector Contracts and established a contracting procedure known as "Competitive Engagement" for special cases. Applying this concept, the contracting authority initiates an engagement process with the selected candidates aimed at coming to one or several solutions that satisfy their needs and on which the selected candidates will base their offers. In short, the bidders are required to bring to the table ideas and solutions that are then debated with the contracting authorities.

The PLOCAN project was awarded to the Company using the Competitive Engagement process and is among the very few Public Procurement of Innovation operations that have been carried out in Spain so far.

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