New directors at MaREI to help Ireland become renewable energy trailblazer

9 Oct 2017635 Shares

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

From left: Prof Anita Maguire, vice-president for research and innovation in UCC; Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir and Prof Jerry Murphy. Image: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

The two new MaREI directors are committed to combatting climate change.

The Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland Centre (MaREI) based in University College Cork (UCC), has appointed UCC professors Brian Ó Gallachóir and Jerry Murphy as its new co-directors. The appointments come after the two-day Citizens’ Assembly on climate change was held at the beginning of October.

The findings from the assembly align with MaREI’s goal to make Ireland a global leader in marine and renewable energy. The Cork-based €55m research centre has 200 researchers working across six academic partner institutions, and also has 48 industry partners to collaborate with.

‘Climate change is one of the critical global challenges we face, and research led by the world-leading SFI research centre MaREI will be core to developing energy solutions that can positively impact the lives of Irish citizens’
– PROF MARK FERGUSON

Creating a sustainable future for Ireland

Prof Mark Ferguson, director of Science Foundation Ireland and chief scientific adviser to the Government of Ireland, explained just how vital the work being done at MaREI really is: “Research and innovation matter for our future and are at the heart of delivering tangible improvements to our quality of life.

“Climate change is one of the critical global challenges we face, and research led by the world-leading SFI research centre MaREI will be core to developing energy solutions that can positively impact the lives of Irish citizens.”

Who are the new directors?

Prof Murphy leads MaREI’s research in bioenergy, with a particular focus on how Ireland will build a renewable green gas industry. He is also chair in civil, structural and environmental engineering in UCC and serves as the International Energy Agency bioenergy task leader for energy from biogas.

He said: “MaREI research involves world-class scientists and engineers working with industry to facilitate Ireland’s energy transition to a low-carbon future. This is exemplified by our collaborative research with companies involved in wave and tidal energy, including ESB, OpenHydro, GKinetic and DP Energy.

“In addition, our collaboration with Gas Networks Ireland on greening the gas grid has led to the Causeway Project, which will involve grid injection of biogas, 13 service stations serving advanced gaseous biofuels and, ultimately, 20pc substitution of natural gas with renewable gas.”

Prof Ó Gallachóir leads the energy policy and modelling research at MaREI, increasing the evidence base underpinning energy and climate action policy choices by exploring a range of future energy scenarios for Ireland. He is also professor of energy engineering at UCC and chair of the executive committee of the International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Programme on energy systems modelling.

Accelerating our renewable energy plans

Ó Gallachóir added that one of the latest goals of the centre is to engage more with citizens directly when making new policy plans: “Our ambition going forward is to focus much more on engaging with citizens and communities and developing future scenarios together, so that we not only have a sustainable energy system, we also co-develop a sustainable energy society.”

In July of this year, MaREI was one of 34 European research teams awarded EU funding, which it is currently funnelling into projects to accelerate offshore renewable technology and infrastructure.

UCC president, Prof Patrick O’Shea, said of the news: “The appointment of professors Brian Ó Gallachóir and Jerry Murphy as directors of MaREI heralds the next exciting phase of this key national initiative and further enhances the institutions and Ireland’s global reputation in the marine and renewable energy research and development space.”

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com