The Catalan government and the organizers of the America's Cup (ACE Barcelona) have signed a cooperation agreement to guarantee the impact and the technological and industrial reach of the competition in Catalonia.
The objective is to take advantage of one of the most important sporting events in the world, which will be held in Barcelona for the first time next year, to promote the use of green hydrogen in the Catalan nautical sector, stimulate the activity of the technological ecosystem and local video games, project Catalonia to the world and facilitate the contracting of products and services to Catalan companies.
The agreement, signed by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment -the Agency for Business Competitiveness of the Ministry of Business and Labour- and America's Cup Event, is one of the measures taken by the Government of Catalonia since last year to make Catalonia a world reference in terms of innovation and sustainability in the nautical sector and the white economy.
The government is working with entities such as the Barcelona Nautical Capital Foundation to amplify the impact of this event beyond the competition - which will take place between August and October 2024 - and to take advantage of its high technological component.
“Innovation and technology are part of the DNA of America's Cup, and this exciting collaboration is an example of a practical flow of technology from the event that will boost the local technology and research business ecosystem”
Grant Dalton, CEO of ACE Barcelona and head of the Emirates Teams New Zealand team
According to the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, "The aim of the Government is that America's Cup has a socio-economic impact that goes beyond the celebration of the event and that it means an important economic return in the form of job creation. But above all that, it translates into R+D projects in Catalonia, industrial development, opportunities for Catalan companies, and growth of the white economy and the Catalan nautical sector, always with the aim of sustainability," he emphasized.
For his part, the CEO of ACE Barcelona and head of the Emirates Teams New Zealand team, Grant Dalton, stressed that "from the beginning, the entities hosting the 37th America's Cup in Barcelona have valued the important opportunities that hosting this event here represents, beyond the sporting spectacle." Dalton emphasized that "innovation and technology are part of the DNA of America's Cup, and this exciting collaboration with ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment is an example of a practical flow of technology from the event that will boost the local technology and research business ecosystem."
The event, which took place at the Port of Barcelona, was also attended by its president, Lluís Salvadó, the secretary of Business and Competitiveness and managing director of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Albert Castellanos, and the executive vice-president of America's Cup Event Barcelona, Aurora Catà.
An accelerator for the Catalan industry
First, the agreement signed aims to take advantage of the event to promote a new economic sector in Catalonia of decarbonized nautical vessels that run on green hydrogen. Specifically, the agreement includes the commitment of the America's Cup to transfer to ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment the technological knowledge generated by this competition in the field of green hydrogen to promote the industrialization of this technology in Catalonia. The official support boats of the competition will run on green hydrogen at up to 50 knots, generating zero emissions.
An example is the agreement that the America's Cup has reached with Air Products, through its subsidiary Carburos Metálicos, a local industrial gas supplier based in Barcelona, to be the official hydrogen supplier for the 37th America's Cup. Air Products will be responsible for supplying the green hydrogen.
Also, the Government of Catalonia and the America's Cup will boost the Catalan innovation ecosystem in the technological field by taking advantage of the competition's sophisticated demand for technical solutions. Thus, Catalan start-ups, companies, clusters, and technology and research centers will be encouraged to respond to the technological challenges associated with the competition through open innovation challenges organized by ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment at the leading technology events held in Catalonia, such as MWC and Integrated Systems Europe (ISE).
The agreement states that both parties will collaborate to facilitate this link with the local ecosystem and promote the contracting of products or services from Catalan companies by the America's Cup and the teams participating in the event. This initiative will be articulated, among others, through the clusters that are part of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment's Catalunya Clusters program, which includes 27 Catalan clusters that bring together more than 2,700 companies and associated agents with a turnover of more than 70,000 million euros.
More projection of Catalonia in the world
The alliance between the Government and the organizers of the America's Cup also includes the participation of Catalan suppliers in developing the first video game in the history of this competition. This initiative will strengthen Catalonia's position in video games and e-sports and stimulate this sector's local ecosystem, serving as a platform for projecting Catalonia and Barcelona to the world.
In this sense, one of the points included in the agreement signed is to take advantage of the event to promote the attraction of productive foreign investment in Catalonia. Several international actions are underway and will be carried out in the coming months, such as a global communication campaign with the participation of the CEO of the America's Cup, Grant Dalton.