UCC offers world-class marine renewable energy test facilities free-of-charge

The Marine Renewable Infrastructure Network (MARINET), co-ordinated by University College Cork (UCC), is pleased to announce the opening of the fifth and final call on September 16th offering free-of-charge use of Irish and European leading test facilities for marine renewable energy R&D. Access to academic expertise is included under the call, with the EC funding usual costs. Start-up companies, research groups and entrepreneurs working in the area of marine renewable energy and based in the EU or in FP7 associated States will be particualarly interested in this offer, which closes 31st October.

Ireland is one of the most energetic locations in the world in terms of wave and offshore-wind climates. These are huge natural resources for the country, which could be harnessed for national energy use or for export to power-hungry neighbouring countries. 45 marine energy R&D infrastructures were originally available via the MARINET network. Some facilities are now ‘sold out’ however having reached full capacity. Many facilities are still on offer in this final call however, covering the wave, tidal and offshore-wind fields. MARINET covers the access costs to these facilities, which typically range from €1,000 to €30,000 per week depending on the complexity of the facility. Personnel expertise and advice is an integral part of the service provided at each facility. MARINET also provides a financial contribution to assist the team with travel and accommodation costs.

Irelands National Ocean Test Facility is also on offer through this initiative. UCC’s own Beaufort Research National Ocean Energy Test Facility houses an ocean wave basin and an electrical Power Take-Off rig.

The Beaufort Research Ocean Wave Basin is a 25m long, 18m wide and 1m deep basin which can generate waves in order to test the performance of wave energy concepts. This allows for the fundamental characteristics of a device to be tested as well as modelling the device in real sea conditions. Such testing can determine hydrodynamic performance in a range of conditions, power take-off performance, site specific wave generation, naval architecture set-up in terms of motion setup, weight distribution, balance and stability, sea-keeping, mooring set-up, validation of pre-completed numerical models, limited survival (based on scale) and power map production.

The unique design of UCCs multi-functional test rig is used for scaled laboratory testing of rotational power take-off equipment, control and grid integration of a wide range of electrical systems used in ocean and wind energy technologies. For far lower costs than at-sea testing, results from the test rig can inform device developers’ decision-making before, during and after expensive at-sea trials. Salvador Ceballos from Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Spain had this to say about their experience testing at Beaufort Research: “Measured data from the Rotating test rig at Beaufort Research was used in an academic paper. This real measured data verified that new control strategies were implementable in hardware. The paper entitled “Efficiency Optimization in Low Inertia Wells Turbine-Oscillating Water Column Devices” has been accepted for publication on IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion.”

An applicant team must largely be based in EU Member States or States associated with the 7th Framework Programme. Team members based outside the EU can also participate as long as they are not the majority in the team. The team must apply for a facility located outside their home country. Results may be published if they prove interesting – however these can be tailored to fully protect intellectual property if desired.

Typical projects might be:

  • A start-up company teaming up with their local university to test the efficiency of a novel energy conversion system at a world-class electrical research facility abroad.
  • A research group testing the corrosion characteristics of a new material that they have designed for use on offshore platforms.

How to apply
Go to www.fp7-marinet.eu for further details and to make an application. Call opens on 27th June and closes 20th August 2013.

Jan Erik Hanssen (concerning access by teams from industry)

Christophe Maisondieu (concerning access by teams from public research centres, or general queries on the application process)

Mark Healy (broader queries on the MARINET initiative) info@1-tech.eu
+32 2280 1284

+33 298 224 733

+353 21 425 0021

More Information
IMERC  – Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster initiative
An alliance between University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology and the Irish Naval Service, IMERC aims to become a research and commercial cluster of world standing by realising Ireland’s potential in the global, maritime and energy markets of tomorrow.
MARINET (Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network) is a network of research centres and organisations that are working together to accelerate the development of marine renewable energy – wave, tidal & offshore-wind – by streamlining their research and testing capabilities.