Students bring industry together to share ideas on Ireland’s clean-tech scope

28 Aug 2013

Nineteen student members of the group together just before the start of the Energy Needs Ireland Smart Energy exhibition, held in the Digital Hub yesterday

If you happen to be near the vicinity of the Digital Hub in Dublin this evening, and are keen to learn more about Ireland and what’s happening in terms of the smart grid, clean IT, energy storage, and wind harvesting, a group of 21 third-level students from Ireland has organised an expo to bring industry together to share their innovations with each other and, crucially, the public.

The expo has been put together by the student group who are involved with Energy Needs Ireland (ENI), based at University College Dublin (UCD).

As well as UCD, the students hail from various universities around Ireland, from University College Cork (UCC) to Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB). Their aim is to give an unbiased perspective on the energy industry.

Fintan Slye, head of EirGrid, which is behind the Grid 25 programme to update Ireland’s energy infrastructure, opened up proceedings earlier at the Digital Hub on Crane Street, Dublin 8.

The main event will be happening at 6pm. Bord na Móna will be hosting a debate on wind exportation projects in the Midlands.

Interestingly, there was no representative from Mainstream Renewable Power, the Irish company founded by Eddie O’Connor in 2008 that is aiming to create a wind-turbine manufacturing hub in the Midlands, at the event, at the time of writing.

Getting the clean-tech industry talking

Étaín Ryan, an electronic and computing engineering student at University College Dublin (UCD) is one of the 21 students from around the island who have made this event happen.

“There’s a good mixture. We have three science students, a student studying earth science, commerce students and engineering students,” explained Ryan, who is about to go into second year at UCD.

As well as this, the 21 students have been getting mentoring from Prof Mark O’Malley, who heads up the Electricity Research Centre (ERC) here in Ireland

Ryan said that some of the areas that the students wanted to cover were energy infrastructure, smart meters, clean technology innovations, wind power technologies and energy exporting from Ireland.

And industry heavyweights are out in full force. Glen Dimplex is there, for instance, to show off its new Quantum energy system. Irish company Cylon is also exhibiting, as is

Siemens also has a couple of representatives on the floor to talk wind turbines and data centres.

Bord na Móna, meanwhile, wants to talk about wind harvesting.

As for ENI, it was set up in 2007 and gets support from Science Foundation Ireland, as weall as UCD.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic