Exactly two years after a sod-turning ceremony on the site, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny will officially open the new Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy on July 11.
A state of the art wave research facility, the €15 million building will house the LIR National Ocean Test Facility and the SFI MaREI centre. MaREI (Marine Renewable Energy Ireland Research Centre) in a cluster of key university and industrial partners dedicated to solving the main scientific, technical, social and economic challenges related to marine renewable energy.
Covering an area of 4,700 square metres, the new institute will play a key role in Ringaskiddy’s Maritime Campus, (which also includes the Irish Navy and the National Maritime Institute), and is designed to add to a growing knowledge hub, bringing together key players in maritime affairs, including academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, to the Cork harbour location
This building is totally unique in Ireland and will ranks as a world class research centre, primarily in wave energy, but in other related disciplines too — the Beaufort Centre will also offer incubator facilities for the growing alternative and natural energy industry and including the conversion of wave energy to a usable form for grid networks and in other marine energy and renewable energy innovations.
The Beaufort Centre is designed to support the latest in maritime energy research and development and the facilities include a large teaching flume and test flumes (tanks for wave generation) with dimension of 35m x 12m x 3m deep and 12 electric paddles (ocean wave generators), for multiple beach scenarios as well as a 1m @ 2.7 second wave and a movable floor— features required for maritime and wave energy research.
The infrastructure allows for a survival flume, mechanical and electrical workshops, composites laboratories, (to check marine erosion on substances), a PTO lab (Power-Take-Off systems used in converting energy to electricity), as well as energy storage research, smart grid labs and industry suites with an incubation space of 200 sq metres.
The building should provide an entry point for industry, nationally and internationally, says a spokesperson, while at the same time, developing as a centre for academic excellence in the maritime energy field.
The stated aim is to “promote Ireland as a world-class maritime and energy research and development location, through the provision of a national maritime and energy cluster and to achieve a competitive, high-quality and sustainable maritime and energy sector”.
Designed McCullogh Mulvin Architects to resemble a cliff facea and to mirror the erosion patterns created by the sea, the new building took two years to complete.
An Taoiseach’s return to the site to officially open the Beaufort Building will chime with the inaugural, SeaFest celebration,Ireland’s first national maritime festival.
This free event is aimed at heightening public awareness of the work at the Maritime Campus as well as the country’s maritime heritage and its potential for creating a sustainable clean energy resource based on our natural resources.
Seafood cookery demonstrations, a fish market, Little Explorers workshops and talks on sea life along with a huge line up of events is planned att Ringaskiddy on July 10 and 11. See www.seafest.ie for more information.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved