Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Declan Meally and Patricia Comiskey Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland


Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI)

MaREI is a research, development and innovation centre, supported by Science Foundation Ireland, that focuses on the advancement of energy and marine research, innovation, and commercialisation to facilitate Ireland’s leadership in confronting urgent global challenges, specifically the energy transition, climate action, and blue growth. By the end of 2018, 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 over 50 industry partners, comprising a range of SMEs and MNCs across the energy and marine spaces, and involved engagement with stakeholders from across government, academia, and society to deliver the underlying policy context, societal engagement, and capacity building necessary to support Ireland’s leadership in confronting the aforementioned global challenges. 

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. 
Lir National Ocean Test Facility
The Lir National Ocean Test Facility (NOTF) is a world-class centre 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 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. 
All tank and infrastructure commissioning has been completed on site and the Lir National Ocean Test Facility was officially opened in January 2019. 
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 has built 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 these projects 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. 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. 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 brings ocean energy technologies to market by providing access to North-West Europe’s world-leading network of open sea 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 Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland 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. 
  • INTERREG NWE OPIN project (Ocean Power Innovation Network) is a 3 year project running from October 2018 to December 2022. OPIN will design, test and deliver an innovation model to build cross-sectoral collaboration, to accelerate growth of the Ocean Energy sector and its supply chains. OPIN will build an environment where SMEs can collaborate transnationally, and across sectors, and build wider supply chains for the Ocean Energy sector. OPIN activities include the growth of a transnational cross sector network, challenge calls for cross-sectoral collaborative innovation projects, and tailored support to SMEs. Irish partners include SEAI, as lead partner, with MRIA, ESB and Enterprise Ireland as associate partners.
  • INTERREG NWE AFLOWT (Accelerating market uptake of Floating Offshore Wind Technology) project will run from January 2019 to December 2024. The project aims to build a full-scale floating wind device to deploy and test in the Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site (AMETS) in Belmullet. This will demonstrate the investability of floating wind technology and promote its uptake in north west Europe and globally. 
  • H2020 OceanSET (Support to the Realisation of the Ocean Energy Implementation Plan of the SET-Plan) project run from February 2019 to December 2021. The project was developed to support the Implementation of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) for Ocean Energy. The Implementation Plan focuses on the key challenges for wave and tidal energy technologies. Its ambition is to outline a structured approach that will enable wave and tidal technologies to follow a credible development path, with the ultimate destination of a commercially viable wave and tidal industry. SEAI the lead partner in this project and is the only Irish partner.
  • INTERREG NWE MEA project (Marine Energy Alliance) is a 4-year project running from May 2018 to May 2022. The aim of MEA is to progress the technical and commercial maturity level of early-stage (TRL 3 – 4) marine energy technology companies with the overall goal of reducing the risk of device failure in subsequent demonstration phases. Irish Partners include Exceedence Ltd and MaREI (Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland).