The government of Puerto Rico has issued a request for proposals to the three companies shortlisted to finance, build and operate the $300m Puerto Rico Ocean Technology Complex (PROTech).
The development will have a number of uses, most of them related to deep seawater industries and sustainable strategies. They include an ocean thermal energy conversion plant, aquaculture and micro-algae cultivation.
According to the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), PROTech is the first of a number of projects that will enable the US territory to "advance and invest in ocean-related industries efforts and to create the technologies required to adapt to the transition from conventional energy and fuels".
The department comments: "PROTech will also provide an opportunity for ecosystem research, both for the academy and private institutions, a recreational, cultural and commercial centre, as well as a hospital institution, among others. All these projects will have an eco-friendly approach respecting nature, will be nourished by the supply of saline waters, and will benefit from the energy production of the project."
The shortlisted companies are a joint venture between Canadian engineer WSP and Puerto Rican architect Marvel Marchand; South Carolina-based manufacturer Agru America; and Puerto Rican infrastructure investor Energy Centre Cajuhu.
The centre will be built on 87ha of land owned by the Puerto Rico Land Administration around the port of Yabucoa, on the east of the island.
The DDEC hopes that the innovative concept, the first in the Caribbean and the third in the world, will be the spearhead of economic growth in the southeast region of Puerto Rico.
The deadline to submit the proposal is 4 December.
Image: The DDEC’s rendering of the ocean tech complex