A new €29m research centre could put Ireland at the forefront of the marine renewable energy research sector.
Up to 77 jobs will be supported at the SFI Research Centre, Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI), at University College Cork (UCC).
It is being funded by €19m from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) with a further €10.5m from 45 industry partners.
Research Minister Sean Sherlock said the investment has the potential to position Ireland at the forefront of the marine renewable energy research sector globally.
“By making Ireland an international focal point for the marine renewable industry, MaREI will help create solutions for the marine energy industry to meet national and international sustainable energy demands, and ensure that jobs created in this sector benefit the national economy,” he said.
“MaREI will prepare ocean technologies for market by removing technical and commercial barriers, and will directly create companies and jobs, thereby serving as a catalyst for Ireland to establish a safe, sustainable and profitable energy supply for domestic use and for export.”
Scientists will research all aspects of the marine renewable energy from marine robotics and materials to endure ocean conditions, to offshore wind, wave and marine energy devices as well as technologies to deliver power to the grid for electricity supply at home and abroad.
The centre will also educate and train the next generation of engineers and scientists for the marine renewable energy industry.
Professor Tony Lewis, MaREI interim director and director of Beaufort Research UCC, said Ireland is one of the best locations in terms of marine renewable energy resources.
“This centre will develop the science and technology solutions required by industry to develop commercial wave, tidal and floating wind energy devices through cutting-edge research,” he said.
It is estimated MaREI will directly support 77 jobs and has the potential to create more jobs through spin-out companies in the field of marine renewable technology and marine energy materials, devices and solutions for industry.
The 45 global and Irish firms supporting MaREI include Bord Gas Energy, ESB Energy International, Intel, Siemens and DePuy while academic partners include Cork IT, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Marine Institute and Teagasc.