A vast new wave tank and lab facility in Cork Harbour will help the country move towards a greener future, the Tánaiste said.
Simon Coveney was speaking at the official opening of Lir, a state-of-the-art facility in the €20m UCC Environmental Research Institute (ERI) Beaufort building in Ringaskiddy.
Its vast 2,600 sq metre tank hall houses four wave tanks that can replicate real ocean conditions to test marine innovations and cutting-edge technologies. One of the tanks has an “adjustable beach”.
Researchers will test scale-models of their devices in the tanks, before moving them to a pre-commercial testing facility in Galway Bay, and from there to real-world testing in Belmullet in Co Mayo.
Among the technologies currently being tested at Lir is a small wave-powered turbine that can be attached to fish-farm platforms to provide on-site power.
But Lir can also be used to test scale-models of oil and gas platforms, aquaculture cages, vessels, breakwaters and coastal defences.
“We are doing that in wind and have been for quite some time. We can also do that in relation to ocean renewable. This piece of infrastructure will be a big part of that."
UCC President Professor Patrick O’Shea said research at Lir will help unlock the potential of our oceans, while UCC’s Dr Jimmy Murphy, who is based at Lir, said they will help companies by “de-risking their technologies” through an extensive and robust testing.