Tidal, wave and offshore wind energy focus of conference

Apr 10 2013 Posted: 10:25 IST

11-12 April, 2013

A major €3 million EU research project investigating various aspects of tidal, wave and offshore wind energy will be presented at a conference in the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway, tomorrow. Running since 2009, the MAREN project focussed on the energy extraction potential of the Atlantic Area coastal waters.

Scientists and engineers from Ireland, Wales, Spain, Portugal and France have collaborated on the MAREN project and will present their project findings at the event. Mr Ciaran Cannon, Minister of State for Training and Skills, will officially open the event.

Conference speakers will present how detailed quantification of tidal, wind and wave energy has been carried out. Research into optimising layouts of marine renewable energy farms will be presented, along with environmental impacts such as likelihood of increased flooding.

Professor Michael Hartnett of NUI Galway will chair the conference: Here in Ireland, we are poised on potentially one of the most significant long-term energy resources on the planet. A fully-developed marine renewable energy industry in Ireland could lead to up 70,000 jobs. The Atlantic Ocean has huge potential in terms of energy and pan-European projects like this are vital to assess and predict how we can best harness this natural resource. In NUI Galway we have some of the most advance modelling software tools which are allowing us to quantify marine energy resources from the installations of large scale tide and wave farms.”

“This project has also allowed us to predict the impact of marine renewable energy devices on the environment. We have investigated the environmental impact of new energy devices developed over recent years. For example, what is the optimum configuration of tidal or wave devices to minimise environmental impacts on pollutant dispersion and aquatic species. ”

The MAREN project also investigated the impact of climate change on the CO2 reduction figures, including CO2 release resulting from increased storminess and flooding. A series of climate change scenarios have been simulated and design requirements for marine renewable energy devices developed for predicted altered hydrodynamic conditions present in coastal waters as a result of the impacts of climate change have been considered.

The event will be of particular interest to academics and industry personnel engaged in marine renewable energy activities. It is also highly relevant to individuals involved in regulatory and planning aspects of marine renewable energy. The main emphasis will be on technical and environmental issues.

The conference will also host workshops to stimulate stakeholder debate in key areas.

The research undertaken within the MAREN project was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Atlantic Area Transnational Programme (INTERREG IV).

The research partners were Cardiff University; National University of Ireland Galway; University of Cantabria, Spain; Centec, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal; and  Iferner, France.


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