Smart Ocean Technologies


With the participation of the Fraunhofer IKTS, the newly founded research group Smart Ocean Technologies SOT is developing future-oriented underwater technologies for the sustainable use of the oceans. The IKTS is working on robust sensor systems and test methods for permanent condition monitoring of underwater structures. Another focus is on wear- and corrosion-resistant ceramic key components that ensure maintenance-free operation of underwater units. In addition, novel analytical methods are established to characterize complex aging processes of microplastics in the sea.

With the Digital Ocean Lab, Fraunhofer SOT has an excellent research infrastructure for underwater technologies at its disposal. In an underwater test field in the Baltic Sea, smart underwater systems for monitoring, production and exploration can be tested under real conditions. In the Fraunhofer SOT, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IGD, IGP, IKTS and IOSB collaborates.


Research focus

Analysis of microplastics

  • Analysis and characterization of weathering and aging mechanisms of plastic materials in the sea
  • Consideration of material aging due to the influence of UV, abrasion, biofilm growth, etc.
Condition monitoring of underwater structures
  • Development and provision of monitoring systems for condition monitoring of offshore foundation structures, pipelines, tanks
  • Complete condition monitoring management: simulation, measurement methods, sensors, electronics, data processing, power supply, integration, certification

Ceramic key components for underwater systems

  • Wear and corrosion protection for critical subsea components (e.g. pumps, pipes, nozzles)
  • Pressure-resistant transparent ceramics for optical systems
  • Robust electronics and sensor technology
Mikroskopische Aufnahme Polymer-Sheet mit Biofilmbewuchs nach 28 Tage Alterung
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Analysis of microplastics: polymer sheet with biofilm growth after 28 days aging (stereomicroscope).
An einer Offshore-Gründungsstruktur  ist eine Sensormanschette zur Überwachung von Schweißnähten befestigt. Im Hintergrund sieht man das Meer, den blauen Himmel und Windräder.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Condition monitoring of underwater structures: Sensor ring for monitoring weld seams on offshore foundation structures.
Verschleißfestes Pumpengehäuse mit einer Innenauskleidung aus superharter Diamantkeramik
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Ceramic key components for underwater systems: wear-resistant pump housing (SICcast Mineralguss GmbH) with an inner lining of super hard diamond ceramics.