Ocean Engineering Student investigates Tasmania’s Offshore Renewable Energy Capability through Blue Economy Honours Project.

Final-year Bachelor of Maritime Engineering Student, John Francis Villalba grew up in the Philippines and relocated to Tasmania to study Ocean Engineering at the Australian Maritime College.

“I came to hear about the Ocean Engineering bachelor’s degree at AMC from a course pathways guidebook while studying high school in Brisbane. I immediately knew this was the right path for me, being particularly interested in maths and science".

I've always been fascinated by the ocean - for all we know and don't know yet about it, and its tremendous potential. I've also had family who spent their lives working out at sea, so that connection is also what inspires me in my study.


On 23 November, John presented his honours research project at the National Centre for Maritime Engineering and Hydrodynamics Research Project Virtual Conference

John investigated the feasibility of a co-located offshore wind and aquaculture farms around Tasmania.

I developed a decision network to suggest the best site offshore of Tasmania to co-locate offshore wind farms and aquaculture, which aquaculture species is most beneficial to cultivate, and the supporting structures of the wind turbines.

John’s investigation was inspired by Tasmanian Based Blue Economy CRC, a 10-year research project that aims to bring aquaculture and renewable energy sectors together to address the challenges of offshore food and energy production.

The Blue Economy CRC’s vision is for Australia’s Blue Economy industries in offshore sustainable seafood and collocated renewable energy to be globally competitive, at the forefront of innovation and underpinned by a robust environmental planning and management framework which consumers trust and value, says Blue Economy CRC Research Director, Australian Maritime College Associate Professor Irene Penesis. 

"John Villalba’s research aligns well with our need to develop understanding, tools, and guidelines pertaining to the benefits, drawbacks, and trade-offs associated with collocation of operations for aquaculture and offshore renewable energy for our vision to be achieved", Associate Professor Penesis said.

After Graduation, John plans to seek out employment opportunities that contribute to Australia’s Blue Economy.

“I plan to hopefully be able to contribute to Australia's developing Blue Economy, whether through finding employment within the sector or eventually doing a PhD, to make the most of my degree. 

Learn more about studying Maritime Engineering.