An £8.2 million cross-border research centre for renewable energy has been launched at Queen’s University in Belfast, in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands. The Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research will focus on technologies such as tidal power. This will involve staff completing research at ocean energy sites in Western Scotland, Northern Ireland and in Ireland.
Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands said it was proud to collaborate with partners to develop what is expected to be cutting edge research. “There is huge potential for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland to lead the way in marine and bio-energy,” he said. The work initiated by the centre is expected to help realise that potential and to deliver a lasting economic impact across the wider region in the process.
The centre will recruit 34 PhD students working in a range of marine and bio-energy disciplines, and 5 will be based at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Partners include Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, Donegal County Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council. The centre is named after the late Professor Ian Bryden, a Scot who became a leading expert in marine renewable energy over a 30 year research career in organisations such as UHI. It has been developed with European Union funding and support from the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland.
There has been considerable excitement about the potential for Scotland to harness its marine energy resources to help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. However, firms operating in tidal and wave power have faced challenges in demonstrating the commercial appeal of such technologies following a sharp fall in the cost of generating electricity from wind.
The Irish government has confirmed that permission has been granted to use a site in Galway Bay to test marine renewable energy, including floating offshore wind. Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Damien English said Ireland’s Marine Institute has been awarded a foreshore lease for the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site.
The test site, located 1.5 km off the coast of An Spidéal, will allow for the deployment and testing of a range of prototype marine renewable energy devices, innovative marine technologies and novel sensors. The facility will also provide access to the SmartBay observatory allowing researchers and scientists to conduct research in the marine environment. The Marine Institute had operated a test site at the same location for 11 years until March 2017, generating a significant research knowledge base. The test site will provide researchers and those involved in developing ocean energy devices with an area in which to test and demonstrate quarter-scale prototype ocean energy converters and related technologies.
A maximum of three marine renewable energy test devices will be deployed at the test site at any time and will only be deployed for a maximum duration of 18 months, with the exception of any floating wind device which may only be deployed for a maximum of 12 months. The lease has been granted on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid. The Galway Bay test site will operate for up to 35 years, with devices on site intermittently throughout the year. Under the terms of the lease, the Marine Institute will produce an environmental monitoring plan for the test site, and make all the findings of the monitoring programme available to the public.
Published on Thursday 21st Dec 2017 by David Foxwell
A new government was formed in Iceland on the 30th of November after an election in October. The Left Green movement, the independence Party and the Progressive Party joined forces and formed a government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairman of the Leftist-Green Movement is Iceland’s new Prime Minister, making her the second woman to hold that position in Iceland, as well as the first ever socialist leader in the country.
In the government agreement are the environmental issues and global warming at the forefront. Iceland is guided by the goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit the average increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°C from the reference level. The main aim of the government’s climate policy is to avoid negative effects of climate change on marine life. In no other part of the world has the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic. Thus, it is incumbent upon Iceland to conduct more extensive studies of acidification of the ocean in collaboration with the academic community and the fishing industry. Iceland is moreover bound to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, based on the 1990 level, by 2030.
It is the government’s wish to go further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement and to aim to have a carbon-neutral Iceland by 2040 at the latest. The aim is to achieve this by making a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and also through changes in land use in accordance with internationally recognized standards and by incorporating approaches that take account of the local ecology and planning considerations. Support will be given to industrial sectors, individual enterprises, institutions and local authorities in their attempt to set themselves targets pertaining to climate-change.
The government aims to have all major public projects assessed in terms of their impact on the climate-policy targets. Concessions for new investment projects will be subject to the condition that the projects have been assessed in terms of their impact on climate and how they conform to Iceland’s international undertakings regarding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Emphasis will be placed on involving all players in society, and the general public, in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and support will be given to innovation in this sphere. A climate council will be established and a plan of action on emission reductions will be drawn up, with a time-scale, and financed.
The plan of action will include targets regarding transport and the proportion of vehicles powered by environmentally friendly fuels in the total number of vehicles in Iceland, utilization 22 — levels of fuel and power in business and industry, the introduction of international conventions on the protection of the oceans, ‘green steps’ in state operations and a Climate Fund, and moves will be made to prohibit the use of heavy oil in vessels within Iceland’s economic zone. Collaboration will be established with sheep farmers on neutralizing the carbon emissions from sheep farming in accordance with a plan of action. Other production sectors will also be invited to collaborate on comparable projects.
Iceland has about 60 technology companies that create technology that are suitable for sea-related operations. Many of them are leaders in their field, both in terms of quality and environmental protection. The companies are focused in durable goods, efficiency, good use of energy, oil savings, water savings and hygiene.
The 10 Icelandic companies have been collaborating closely together recently through the Iceland Ocean Cluster and their newest cooperative project is a website, greenmarinetechnology.is where users can explore a virtual world of eco-friendly tech solutions. Introducing everything from geothermal energy utilization to ecofriendly trawl doors, Green Marine marks a turning point in jointly marketing technology solutions for the seafood industry.
Green technology refers to technology, which improves production processes, productivity and efficiency, use of raw materials or energy and reduces waste and pollution. Technological development is a key environmental issue. The call for environmentally friendly technologies is in all areas. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are prominent, as it is clear that if the goal of reduced greenhouse gas emissions is to be achieved it´s necessary to make changes in energy matters.
Many Icelandic high tech companies are leading in its field in terms of quality and eco-friendliness. They generally emphasize quality, efficiency, power savings, water savings and sanitation. These two key elements, quality and Eco friendliness, are extremely important when marketing Icelandic technology
A new ocean test facility in Cork offers companies a chance to de-risk and test technologies before they enter the commercial market.
Ministers have called the Lir National Ocean Test facility, which is incorporated in the MaREI Centre and located in the €20.5m purpose-built Beaufort Building, is key to the development of Ireland’s offshore renewable energy industry.
“The diversity of our work at Lir reflects the numerous commercial opportunities that offshore renewable energy presents. We support companies by de-risking their technologies through our extensive testing capability including towing, installation, performance and survivability testing,” said Dr Jimmy Murphy, general manager, Lir National Ocean Test Facility.
He pointed out that the facility also operates in the broader marine sector as it has the capacity to test any structure that can be fabricated at a smaller scale.
In the past, Lir has tested Oil & Gas platforms, aquaculture cages, vessels, breakwaters and coastal protection structures.
The facilities at Lir, which are available to industry, academia and government agencies nationally and internationally, include four wave tanks that can replicate real ocean conditions and allow testing of various marine technologies and structures at different scales.
Dr Murphy said that in relation to testing of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy technologies, Lir is the only facility with the capacity to link tank testing output to electrical test rigs, that emulate power take off systems, to determine power quality from devices and possible grid integration issues.