Seven renewable energy projects are benefiting from an injection of funding following investment by the Marine Institute in Ireland.
The aim of the investment is to drive innovation in the marine sector and accelerate renewable energy breakthroughs. Funding of up to €200,000 (US$228,000) was awarded to each of the research projects, which are to be conducted by indigenous companies, some including university partners. Among the seven projects are offshore wind and floating offshore wind initiatives, along with wave energy and solar.
The Marine Institute said it is committed to assisting industry-led development through knowledge transfer, capacity building and research to enable optimal decision making and planning to best leverage our natural marine resources sustainably and efficiently. The investment in marine enterprises is a key output of the ‘Marine Institute Strategic Plan 2018-2022: Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services,’ guided by the Irish Governments’ ‘Integrated Marine Plan Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth’ as well as the National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017–2021.
Increased economic growth and job creation from small and medium-sized enterprises based in Ireland is a key component of several national strategies and regional development plans. Funding for these seven renewable research projects is being provided by the Marine Institute and the Irish Government, co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund.
Gavin & Doherty GeoSolutions has been awarded €199,957 (US$227,559) over two years for a research project in partnership with University College Cork that will involve a geological, geotechnical, sediment and morphodynamic assessment of designated areas of the Irish seabed.
Predictive sediment transport modelling, validated against field data, will be used to characterise future seabed changes and to quantify the risk for future potential offshore wind developments in the Irish sea. The outcomes of the project will support developers in efficient design, installation and maintenance planning of offshore renewable assets and will reduce the risk associated with future windfarm developments in the Irish Sea.
The Eureka-Sea Wind project proposed by Marine Materials Ireland Ltd will receive €199,816 (US$227,399) over two years to develop reliable and efficient floating wind turbine technology based on a novel concept that reduces cost and weight.
Subsea Micropiles was awarded €199,902 (US$227,497) for research on the design and installation of two demonstration micropile anchors. The anchor frames will represent structures that would support the foundations of offshore wind turbines or hydrokinetic energy converters. The two anchors will be load tested both horizontally and vertically and the results compared with design predictions.
This type of micropiling technology for subsea environments provides a real and cost-effective alternative to current subsea micropiling models. Using robotically-installed micropiles in the subsea environment represents important innovation and potential cost saving for marine renewable energy projects.