Wave of fresh funding for marine energy projects emerges

10 Jul 2017

Image: lindamka/Shutterstock

The push to develop renewable energy to satisfy our growing power needs is continuing, with €1.3m awarded to 34 European research teams.

The Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland centre (MaREI) based in University College Cork (UCC) is currently leading a €10.5m EU project to accelerate offshore renewable energy technology and infrastructure.

The project provides support to developers of offshore wind, wave and tidal tech to test their devices in research facilities and in real sea conditions.

It’s part of what is becoming a major push throughout the world to generate power from renewable sources, with the opportunities in marine generation appealing to many.

Set up in February, MaRINET2 is the follow-on to MaRINET, which funded 178 projects and 800 companies throughout its lifetime (2011-2015).

MaRINET2 is already on the way to matching that figure, with news of the first €1.3m awarded to a swathe of European research teams.

“In order to bring their product to market, it is essential for technology developers to de-risk their technologies through rigorous and staged testing programmes,” said Dr Jimmy Murphy, coordinator of MaRINET2.

“With today’s announcement, the MaRINET2 project is supporting 34 technology developers to do just that.”

The support will facilitate nearly 500 days of state-of-the-art testing at 20 facilities around Europe.

“What’s more, by helping technology developers test at facilities across the EU, and encouraging knowledge sharing and collaboration, MaRINET2 is strengthening Europe’s position as a centre of excellence for offshore renewable energy research,” said Murphy.

Underwater innovation

MaREI is home to significant research into energy creation and transport.

Researchers at the centre recently revealed they were exploring an idea where the electricity networks of Europe and North America are connected through a powerful underwater cable. This will enable huge volumes of electricity – generated from clean renewable sources such as ocean, wind and wave – to flow in both directions across the Atlantic.

“What we want to do is develop a global electricity model,” said Dr Paul Deane of UCC, when speaking to Siliconrepublic.com recently. “We want to understand what the benefits are for these types of electricity cables – that’s in terms of economics, the replacement of fossil fuels, everything.”

Meanwhile, Limerick-based DesignPro – a company looking to get its turbine technology out into the wild – is on a recruitment drive.

Armed with €2.7m of EU funding, and licensing software from local company GKinetic, DesignPro is aiming to commercialise its hydrokinetic turbine that harnesses the energy of the world’s rivers, canals and estuaries.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic