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Investment Boost For Ireland’s Renewable Energy Sector Under Innovation Strategy

28th February 2019
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Investment Boost For Ireland’s Renewable Energy Sector Under Innovation Strategy

Seven renewable energy projects are benefitting from a significant funding injection following investment by the Marine Institute’s industry-led awards, as reported last month on Afloat.ie.

With the aim of driving innovation in the marine sector and accelerating renewable energy breakthroughs, funding of up to €200,000 was awarded to each of the research projects to be conducted by indigenous companies, with some including university partners.

Speaking at the funding announcement, Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan said: “The diversity of renewable energy projects benefiting from this funding demonstrates the innovation and expertise that we are developing in Ireland in this sector.

“From research on the impact of floating platform technology to subsea micro-piling to hybrid solar and wind energy devices, the commercial opportunities of these projects are very exciting. We are committed to supporting marine enterprises in Ireland to drive Ireland's blue economy.”

Gavin & Doherty GeoSolutions is being awarded €199,957 over two years for their research project in partnership with University College Cork that will involve a geological, geotechnical, sediment and morphodynamic assessment of designated areas of the Irish seabed.

Predictive sediment transport modelling, validated against field data, will be used to characterise future seabed changes and to quantify the risk for future potential offshore wind developments in the Irish sea.

The outcomes of the project will support developers in efficient design, installation and maintenance planning of offshore renewable assets and will reduce the risk associated with future wind farm developments in the Irish Sea.

Two projects in the area of floating energy platforms were also successful in their research funding applications.

Solar Marine Energy will receive €195,465 over two years, in partnership with UCC, to progress how solar energy can be harnessed on a floating platform to power an electrolysis unit to produce Hydrogen in an electro-fuel form while using battery storage for the release of power as and when required.

Solar Marine Energy Ltd (SME) is one of the first companies to design, engineer and manufacture cost-competitive floating solar energy products in its Floating Solar Panels, in accordance with maritime industry best practice.

To make floating wind a commercial reality, further technology innovation is necessary. The Eureka-Sea Wind project proposed by Marine Materials Ireland Ltd (MMI) will also receive €199,816 over two years to develop reliable and efficient floating wind turbine technology based on a novel concept that reduces cost and weight.

Based in Ireland and the USA, Resolute Marine Ltd has developed a successful Oscillating Wave Surge Converter (OWSC) flap system.

Now with a funding boost of €199,955, Resolute Marine will bring the OWSC from concept to robust design that is optimised for locations in the developing countries and islands targeted for commercial installations of RML’s innovative wave-powered desalination systems.

This project is set to advance the Irish wave energy industry and provide jobs for three additional highly trained experts in the fields of hydrodynamics, ocean engineering and project management.

Subsea Micropiles is being awarded €199,902 for research on the design and temporary installation of two demonstration micropile anchors.

The anchor frames will represent structures that would support the foundations of offshore wind turbines or hydrokinetic energy converters. The two anchors will be load tested both horizontally and vertically and the results compared with design predictions.

This type of micropiling technology for subsea environment provides a real and cost-effective alternative to current subsea micropiling models.

Use of robotically installed micropiles in the subsea environment represents important innovation and potential cost saving for marine renewable energy projects.

Fish farmers are actively searching for renewable energy sources to replace the diesel consumption, which causes concerns in relation to emissions and increases risk of oil spills when transporting diesel to the feed aquaculture barges.

Wind and solar generation on fish farm cages currently do not meet the power needs and can be fundamentally challenging and particularly high maintenance, when mounted so close to the ocean itself.

Wave energy, especially when coupled with the existing mooring system, is seen as a very appealing solution.

Exceedence and TfI Marine secured €199,532 in funding to research and develop a revolutionary 1kW Inline Gator system. The Inline Gator will harness the natural power of the waves by converting the motion of the fish cage into electricity thereby mitigating the need for fossil fuels.

W1DA Experience Ltd is also being awarded €198,763 in funding for the Marine EcoPowa Project in partnership with the University of Southampton and UCC.

The project aims to create a new generation of medium power (12-15KW/20-30HP) environmentally–friendly marine propulsion and energy regeneration systems that will replace what is currently termed as “outboard motors”.

The potential financial benefits to boat users in Ireland are significant, potentially costing less than half that of petrol and diesel motors over a 10-year lifetime.

The Marine Institute says it is committed to assisting industry-led development through knowledge transfer, capacity building and research to enable optimal decision making and planning to best leverage Ireland’s natural marine resources sustainably and efficiently.

This investment in marine enterprises is a key output of the Marine Institute Strategic Plan 2018-2022: Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services, guided by the Government’s integrated marine plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth as well as the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017–2021.

Increased economic growth and job creation from small and medium-sized enterprises based in Ireland is a key component of several national strategies and regional development plans. Funding for these seven renewable research projects is being provided by the Marine Institute and the Government, co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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