DuPont in wave technology R&D deal with Irish IP firm

29 Aug 2008

Industrial and science giant DuPont has entered into a collaboration and commercialisation deal with an Irish intellectual property firm to develop technologies specifically for the wave energy sector.

The deal will see Technology from Ideas (TfI) and DuPont jointly develop passive protection material technology.

It will also allow TfI to access and use DuPont’s range of materials and apply them to wave energy devices.

The technology was originally invented at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) by a mechanical engineer and then further enhanced by Irish technology commercialisation and investment company TfI.

TfI then embarked on a proof of concept project that proved the technology through simulation and wave tank testing.

This work was partly conducted by leading wave energy experts in the Hydraulics and Marine Research Centre (HMRC) at University College Cork (UCC). Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) also part funded the work.

Established in 1802, DuPont is a US$30bn a year science-based product and services company that is active in more than 70 countries and covers markets like food, agriculture, construction, communications and transportation.

“DuPont is constantly seeking out new sectors in which to exploit its material portfolio and expertise,” said Jean-Maurice Griffon, global business manager for DuPont Flexible Solutions.

“TfI’s exciting WaveProtector technology combined with its knowledge of the wave energy sector makes it an excellent partner for DuPont. We’re looking forward to developing technology solutions that can have a real impact.”

TfI’s passive protection technology is based on the application of tailored, non-linear materials to wave energy devices. TfI’s system will lower the forces to which existing devices are exposed to while maximising the energy capture.

This increases survivability and maintainability while delivering a significantly lower cost of ownership and hence lower power generation costs. The WaveProtector technology is adaptable to a wide range of wave energy devices and TfI expects to announce collaborations with leading wave energy companies in the near future.

“This collaboration is an exciting development for us as it really drives this important technology closer to market,” Dan Richardson, TfI’s MD explained.

“DuPont’s depth of expertise in cutting-edge material science and lessons learnt from other sectors means that we can use the best material solutions for our WaveProtector customers.

“Our technology can bring substantial enhancements in cost and performance to wave energy device manufacturers. We’re also currently developing collaboration with engineering companies so that our prospective customers have the supply chain in place to deliver this technology once they are ready to integrate and adopt the technology,” Richardson added.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years