94 OES Annual Report 2015 | IRELAND | Research & Development
Annual Report 2015
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. 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 UCC, NUIG, UL, MU, UCD, and CIT, 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 2015, MaREI had approximately 90 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 small and medium enterprises across the marine and renewable energy spaces, to the value of €5 million.

Beaufort Building and Lir NOTF
Housing the headquarters of MaREI, the new Beaufort Building at Ringaskiddy, Cork, was officially opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny during July 2015, representing a major extension of UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI). The Building covers some 4700m2 on five floors and has provision for 135 researchers and support staff in offices and across a suite of state-of-the-art test tanks and dedicated workshops. It also includes Lir-NOTF, Ireland’s National Ocean Test Facility, comprising a 2,600m2 tank-hall, which will house 4 different wave tanks and a suite of electrical test infrastructure.

MaREI also secured over €4 million in additional funding from the SFI Infrastructure Fund in late 2015, which will allow the addition of an ‘Open Ocean Emulator’ at Lir-NOTF to accurately replicate real ocean wave conditions, and the development of an MRE Remotely Operated Vehicle by Prof. Dan Toal to address issues experienced by conventional equipment in challenging high-energy offshore conditions.


Ocean Energy Forum – The Ocean Energy Forum has been created by the European Commission DG MARE to bring together stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the problems faced by the Ocean Energy sector and to collectively devise workable solutions. Irish representatives have been active in developing the draft Strategic Roadmap which sets out the industry’s six-point plan for bringing ocean energy technologies to the marketplace.

The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, convened a high level session of the Ocean Energy Forum in Dublin in October 2015 to discuss the first conclusions of the draft Strategic Roadmap. This event was attended by several ministers from participating member states, including Ireland’s Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources Alex White.

The Ocean Energy Forum event was held to coincide with the annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference & Exhibition which took place in Croke Park Dublin and was sponsored by SEAI.

IEC TC114 - Ireland has a mirror committee (TC18) and contributes with experts to the International Electrotechnical Commission’s TC114 in the development of standards and guidelines for the ocean energy industry. Ireland has expert participation in the majority of the Work Programme. The TC114 International Plenary Meeting and related PT Meetings were held in Dublin Castle in April 2015.

Competition on Hydrodynamic Modelling of a Rigid Body - Launched by Prof. John Ringwood and Prof. Frederic Dias of MaREI, this competition sought to evaluate different ways to model and simulate a device. Six teams from Korea, Canada, USA, Ireland and Norway submitted entries to the competition, which was won by a team from NREL in the USA. The results were presented at two special sessions of the ASME 34th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Artic Engineering in Canada in June.

International Smart Ocean Graduate Education Initiative - Ireland has a graduate programme co-funded by members of the SmartOcean group, which has a mix of Irish and International entities. The first round of PhDs started in 2013.

To date, MaREI has secured a total of over €6 million in EU funding, and has implemented academic collaborations with 67 other institutions across 19 countries, resulting in 149 journal publications and 133 conference proceedings. Ocean energy projects that MaREI researchers are participating in include:

  • FloTEC (Floating Tidal Energy Commercialisation project) - 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.

    The FloTEC consortium brings together world leaders in tidal energy with partners that cover all parts of the supply chain, including end users.
  • INNOWAVE (Maximising the technical and economic performance of real wave energy devices)INNOWAVE’s focus is on the wave energy sector andthe project provides an innovative training programme that integrates academic and industrial contributions. The INNOWAVE programme comprises formal and informal training activities with a rich set of industryacademic research projects, which will provide access to real world tank and ocean testing, wave-energy device deployment and implementation of new research results in state-of-the-art wave energy technology.
  • MARIBE (Maximising the technical and economic performance of real wave energy devices) - MARIBE aims to identify opportunities for Blue Growth sectors to combine with other sectors via multi-use of space or in multi-use platforms (MUPs) and assist in the development of the most promising projects within these combinations. The analysis undertaken by MARIBE partners of key technical and non-technical challenges facing offshore projects will help determine how well placed offshore projects are to progress to pilot and commercial levels. MARIBE partners also incorporate input from the project’s extensive stakeholder network to inform the project approach and activities.
  • 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. A key challenge to realising the potential of Europe’s wave energy resource relates to data access; the wave energy R&D community does not always have access to open sea operating test data. OPERA will remove this roadblock by collecting and sharing two years of open sea operating data of a floating oscillating water column wave energy converter.

    Documenting and sharing this open sea experience will induce a step change in terms of knowledge of risk and uncertainties, costs and societal and environmental impacts of wave energy.
  • RICORE (Risk Based Consenting of Offshore Renewable Energy Projects) - Consenting of offshore renewable energy is often cited as a critical nontechnical barrier to the development of the sector. The RICORE project aims to establish a risk based approach to the consenting process for offshore renewables. Current legal frameworks as well as practices, methodologies and implementation of pre consent surveys, post consent and post deployment monitoring are examined with a view to developing best practices for overcoming barriers and ensuring compliance. RICORE partners work with relevant stakeholders including regulators, industry and EIA practitioners, through a series of expert workshops and use this engagement to guide the project’s activities.