€14m lab to pioneer marine energy

A new €14m research lab will help make Ireland a global leader in marine renewable energy research, the energy minister was told yesterday.

Scientists based at a new research campus in Cork Harbour briefed Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte on the progress of their new Beaufort Laboratory. Once completed, by 2016, it will be the largest marine renewable energy research facility in the world.

It is being built by University College Cork next to the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) in Haulbowline as part of the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC) campus plan.

IMERC, a partnership between UCC, the Cork Institute of Technology, and the Irish Naval Service, was launched in March 2010.

It aims to create 70 research jobs by 2014, to have five companies incorporated by 2015 and to have secured significant foreign direct investment from two sources by 2016.

It wants to attract some of the world’s best researchers to Cork Harbour to exploit the potential for up to 52,000 jobs in ocean energy, maritime security and safety, shipping, logistics and transport, and marine recreation in Ireland by 2030.

The Beaufort Lab is being built on a three-acre site to the east of the NMCI and will be a base for 135 researchers from UCC’s Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre; Coastal and Marine Research Centre; and the Sustainable Energy Research Group.

The investment is funded by the Higher Education Authority; the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Bord Gáis, and the UCC Glucksman Foundation.

The target date for occupancy is May 2013, in time for Ireland’s hosting of the EU presidency.

The minister also presented certificates to IMERC partners, the Irish Naval Service and UCC, for becoming the first naval service and university in the world to reach the ISO 5001 standard in energy management.

Emphasising UCC’s commitment to energy research: Mark Poland, its director of buildings and estates, said: “UCC currently has projects involving lighting, metering, heat recovery, ventilation, photovoltaics and wind energy etc. under way across the campus.”

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