A maritime facility which will power the ‘blue economy” was opened in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, over the weekend by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The 4,700m sq, five-storey Beaufort Building with wave simulators, test tanks, workshops and offices provides Ireland with world-class infrastructure for renewable energy and maritime research.
Named after the Irish hydrographer and globally adopted Beaufort Wind Scale creator, Rear Admiral Francis Beaufort, the Beaufort building will house the headquarters of the multi-institutional home to Science Foundation Ireland’s Marine Renewable Energy Ireland and the LIR National Ocean Test Facility.
Speaking at the opening, Mr Kenny said marine research and development is a part of this Government’s plan to rebuild a sustainable enterprise based economy.
“Our seas will increasingly support more jobs, enterprise and research,” he said. “The UCC Beaufort Building, is a vessel of scientific discovery for our seas. Its worldclass facilities will attract worldclass researchers and new entrepreneurial endeavours in the maritime and energy sectors.
“The spirit of collaboration between academia, private enterprise and the Irish Naval Service in Irish maritime research is a model for public/ private partnerships not only in Ireland, but globally.”
UCC president Michael Murphy said excellence in science and in its exploitation for the benefit of society requires excellent infrastructure.
“For decades, UCC has been a global leader in marine energy research,” he said. “The Beaufort building now provides the worldclass infrastructure necessary to exploit that science to deliver technologies for society. With its wonderful design and state of the art equipment, the building will host academic and industry researchers working in partnership to grow our marine economy.”
Led by Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, director of Marine Renewable Energy Ireland, the centre will cater for 135 researchers, industry partners and support staff, dedicated to solving the challenges related to marine renewable energy. The multi-disciplinary centre has already secured €30m in funding through Science Foundation Ireland and contracts with industry partners comprising multinationals and SMEs.
The centre will form a critical piece in the Ireland Maritime Energy Research Cluster environment, which includes the National Maritime College of Ireland, Cork Institute of Technology and the Defence Forces.
Having recently announced more than 90 jobs as a direct result of foreign direct investment, the Ireland Maritime Energy Research Cluster has been very successful in attracting international companies in the area of ocean energy and maritime research as well as driving indigenous entrepreneurship in the maritime sector.
The ambitious development was led by UCC capital projects officer Niall McAuliffe and employed more than 200 people on site.
Meanwhile, the SeaFest celebrations went ahead at the weekend in wet conditions.
Taking place in Ringaskiddy, Haulbowline, and finishing up in the Port of Cork, the festival provided a line up of free entertainment, music, and activities for all the family.
Participants were able to experience what it’s like to be a captain on the high seas in the simulator. Families also took tours of a modern- day warship in Haulbowline and were blown away by hurricane force winds in the Bord Iascaigh Mhara Beaufort Scale Hurricane Experience.
Other activities included boating trips, yachting, open water swimming, marine simulators, tours of Irish Navy ships, rescue demonstrations, sea life exhibits, educational screenings, seafood cookery talks, and demonstrations.
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