Backed by the British Embassy in Seoul, the new project will bring together academics at the Korea Maritime University (KMU) and the industry know how of UK-based renewables consultancy IT Power, who will collaborate to advance their knowledge of offshore wind and wave and tidal technologies.

The new project, the UK-Korea Ocean Energy Technology Co-operation Project, comes just weeks after the trade bodies in the two nations, Renewable UK and the Korean Wind Energy Industry Association (KWEIA), signed an accord of cooperation in London.

Professor Young-Ho Lee of KMU said: “I am very excited to be starting this project which will build on strong existing links between researchers in the UK and Korea. We now have a formal framework within which we will support commercial links with sound reporting on technologies and economics. KMU and IT Power will engage with all stakeholders to accelerate collaborative development projects.”

The project team will prepare a status report and will present this at a side-event at one of Korea’s renewable energy conferences in autumn this year. A study tour of the UK will be held in early 2013.

South Korea, which is developing 2.5 GW of offshore wind, is hoping to benefit from the UK’s know-how in this area. The UK has the world’s largest installed capacity of offshore wind power, with 1.8GW online and a further 2.3 GW under construction.

Meanwhile, the UK, which has a target of 15% renewables by 2020, can benefit from South Korea’s experience with tidal power. With the completion of the Siwha tidal barrage last year (254MW), Korea has the largest installed tidal energy capacity in the world.

Korea’s presidential committee for green growth has set a target of 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, and plans to spend $36 billion over the next 5 years to develop renewable energy sources.

“South Korea is leading the way in green growth in the Asia Pacific region and is one of the most exciting markets in the world,” said Scott Wightman, HM Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. “The UK is the first country to set legally binding carbon emission reduction targets. Commercial diplomacy is an integral part of our foreign policy, and this project should lead to real advances in co-operation between our two countries.”

The new project is linked with scheme on ocean energy in China that was launched by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September 2011.