Closing date approaches for submissions to Engineers Ireland Technology of the Year Awards

29 Aug 2013

RTÉ's Mary Kennedy; Michael Phillips, former president of Engineers Ireland; Paul Dunne and Kevin Harnett, OpenHydro; Finn Lyden, chief executive SIAC (sponsors of the award); Tadhg Landers, OpenHydro; and Danny Johnston, OpenHydro

As the deadline approaches for entries, we speak to Paul Dunne, from last year’s winner of the Engineers Ireland Technology of the Year Award, OpenHydro.

The purpose of the award is to “highlight innovative technological concepts created in Ireland or by an Irish engineer that clearly demonstrates a real impact on society coupled with an actual or future contribution to the economy”, according to Engineers Ireland. Submissions must be made before 13 September.

This award will be presented to the organisation or engineer which has demonstrated excellence in technology and innovation in any area of business, healthcare, education or the arts. The detailed criteria is available on the Engineers Ireland website.

OpenHydro won the inaugural technology award last year for its Open Centre Tidal Turbine, and according to chief engineer, Paul Dunne, it was a great boost to the team.

“It is always encouraging to receive recognition for the work we do at OpenHydro, especially in relation to our technology,” he said. “We are working in the developing marine renewable industry and winning the Technology of the Year Award gives us confidence in the technology that we are developing.”

Winning technology

The Open Centre Tidal Turbine is a highly specialised marine turbine, designed from first principles for the marine environment. It’s a bi-directional turbine which captures energy from the flooding and ebbing tides.  

“The kinetic energy of the moving water causes rotation of the blades and rotor which then drives a permanent magnetic rim generator which generates electricity,” Dunne explained. “The turbines are designed to be placed on the seabed in tidal regions. This is achieved by mounting the turbine on a triangular gravity base foundation known as a sub-sea base. OpenHydro has also developed a method for installing and removing the turbines using its custom-built barges.”

“Over the past nine years, OpenHydro has developed the technology through an iterative engineering process and we now believe we are one of the world’s leading tidal technologies,” he continued.

And Dunne would encourage his peers to enter. “I would encourage anyone developing a technology to enter into the process, as recognition and winning awards can only serve to strengthen the position and profile of the technology.”

To enter, go the awards page on the Engineers Ireland website