Annual Report 2017
Country Reports


Declan Meally Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI)
MaREI is a centre of excellence for marine renewable energy, supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The Centre combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the marine and renewable energy spaces. In addition to facilitating fundamental research activities, the MaREI research programme is closely aligned to the requirements of its industry partners and the marine and renewable energy sectors as a whole, providing innovative solutions that reduce the time to market, and reduce costs to a competitive level.

MaREI’s research capabilities draw upon the excellent track record of well-established marine and renewable energy-based research groups across each of its academic partners, covering a wide range of cross-cutting topics such as device design and testing, novel materials, offshore operations, coastal and marine management, marine robotics, observation and monitoring, energy storage, aquaculture and green gas. The research team comprises internationally recognised experts in these fields from University College Cork, National University of Ireland, Galway, University of Limerick , Maynooth University, University College Dublin and Cork Institute of Technology, who have complementary research backgrounds key to providing the underpinning research necessary for Ireland to achieve commercially successful marine and renewable energy industries.

By the end of 2017, MaREI had over 200 researchers in place working on a variety of fundamental and applied research projects across its six academic partner institutions. These included targeted projects with 45 industry partners, comprising a range of SMEs and MNCs across the marine and renewable energy spaces. The contract with SFI for funding for the current centre is due for renewal in 2019. MaREI has sought additional funding to expand their research brief and the Universities involved in the project. Results of this application will be confirmed in 2018.

Lir National Ocean Test Facility
The Lir National Ocean Test Facility (NOTF) is a world-class center for renewable energy and marine research, located in the UCC Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork. Lir is a custom designed test facility which features upgraded and expanded tanks and equipment for the testing of small scale ocean energy renewable devices. Testing infrastructure includes:

  • A new Deep Ocean Wave Basin (circa 1:15 scale testing).
  • The Open Ocean Emulator, an ocean wave basin with a sophisticated 2 sided paddle system and a two sided absorption system (circa 1:50 scale testing).
  • A wave and current flume with coastal/tidal testing capabilities (circa 1:50 scale testing) and a wave demonstration flume.
  • Mechanical and electrical workshops.
  • Electrical testing infrastructure, including a smart-grid and a series of linear and rotary rigs used to test power take-off and energy storage.

Lir is an essential part of Ireland’s ocean energy research and testing infrastructure and provides a significant launch pad for both national and international marine renewable energy developers. The upgraded facilities will provide support to developers in taking their first steps in testing and developing their devices and is a vital component of Irelands test infrastructure.

EU Projects
Ocean Energy projects that Irish partners are participating in through European-funded programmes include:

  • The H2020 INFRARIA 2016-2017 MaRINET2 project will provide and co-ordinate free access to ocean energy developers to test infrastructure throughout Europe. MaRINET2 will build upon the previously successful MaRINET programme. UCC are project co-ordinators. Facilities at NUI Galway and the University of Limerick are also included, as well as the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site.
  • The H2020 INFRADEV 2016-2017 Marinerg-i project, led by UCC, aims to unite Europe’s leading renewable energy research organisations to become the leading international distributed infrastructure. Its integrated nature and co-ordinated approach will accelerate the research development and deployment of offshore wind, wave, tidal and combined energy technologies and help maintain Europe as a global leader in this sector.
  • The H2020 TAOIDE proposal is to develop a fully-integrated generator to grid energy delivery system with high reliability and availability, suitable for use in multiple architectures of marine renewable energy systems. This work will provide the basis for development of a power production system certified for use in marine renewable energy applications – a system designed for the specific environments and regulations of the European Union market, utilising skills, expertise and capabilities of European partners. The Irish partners in this project are ORPC Ireland, UCC, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
  • The H2020 OPERA (Open Sea Operating Experience to Reduce Wave Energy Cost): The primary objective of OPERA is to gather open-sea operating experience to reduce the cost of wave energy. UCC/MaREI are a contributing partner
  • The H2020 FloTEC Project (Floating Tidal Energy Commercialisation): The FloTEC project will demonstrate the potential for floating tidal stream turbines to provide low-cost, high-value energy to the European grid mix. The project will entail the construction of a turbine device that will be deployed alongside an existing floating tidal array which will serve as a demonstration platform for commercially viable tidal stream energy. Irish partners include UCC/MaREI and Eirecomposites.
  • INTERREG NWE FORESEA project (Funding Ocean Renewable Energy through Strategic European Action). This project aims to help bring ocean energy technologies to market by providing access to North-West Europe’s world-leading network of test centres. Through the project, the performance of innovative ocean renewable energy technologies will be demonstrated in real sea conditions, helping to leverage the investment needed to take these new products to market. Irish Partners are Smartbay Ireland and access to the Galway Bay test site can be achieved through this mechanism.
  • INTERREG BRYDEN PHD Programme. This programme offers fully funded PhD Studentships in Marine renewable energy and Bio-energy in the following institutions - Queen’s University Belfast, University of the Highlands and Islands, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, Donegal County Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council. Using a Doctoral Training Centre model, the BRYDEN CENTRE project will recruit 34 PhD students and 6 PDRAs; each of whom will work with industry to produce industrially relevant research with the potential for commercial exploitation and resulting economic growth within the region. Final output will be 68 peer reviewed journal and conference publications with cross border authorship. Letterkenny IT are the Irish Partners in this project.