EWTEC Conference A Huge Success

 

With over 500 delegates in attendance and over 100 papers presented, the EWTEC Conference hosted by MaREI was a massive success. Congratulations to all involved. Take a look at some of the highlights here.

New directors steer MaREI’s vision for Ireland as energy leader

MaREI has appointed UCC professors Brian Ó Gallachóir and Jerry Murphy as its new co-directors, after the Citizens’ Assembly recently turned its attention to tackling climate change. The Assembly’s efforts align with MaREI’s vision to make Ireland a global leader in marine and renewable energy…

From Science to Showbusiness

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but changed from one form to another. It’s the same with knowledge. The story of renewable gas in Ireland, currently residing in academic journal articles and reports, was brought to life by ERI researchers and friends on a sunny Saturday morning in August. PhD candidate Aoife Long, of the Biofuels and Bioenergy Research Group, produced, directed and starred in a video to Dance her PhD.

 

The video is an entry for the International Science Magazine Dance your PhD competition. This competition encourages researchers to explain their research through dance, with the aim to delight and inform the public. The winner will be decided by a judging panel who will consider scientific merit, artistic merit, and the creative combination of both.

 

The Biofuels and Bioenergy Research Group, led by Professor Jerry Murphy, has pioneered the research on the potential sources of renewable gas in Ireland. The group is now looking at how this potential can be realised, along with future technologies such as Power to Gas.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen for better Ocean Science – Part 1

In July, MaREI researcher Abigail Cronin set sail from Dublin port on the RV Celtic Explorer as part of a scientific crew of nine. The team consisted of three Marine Institute (MI) personnel, two Training Through Research Survey scheme (TTRS scheme) participants, one BEAMS participant, three scientists from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and the full Celtic Explorer crew. The sixteen day cruise aimed to map a portion of the seabed within Irish waters, approximately 80 nautical miles south of Cork, as part of the INFOMAR project.

 

 

While on the cruise, Abi wrote some Marine Institute blogs describing why she was on the cruise and what it consisted of.

Learning on The Job

So, think about it, there you are standing on Dublin port looking up at Ireland’s largest research vessel, the Celtic Explorer. You shuffle up the gangway with your bag slung over your shoulder after a friendly Donegal accent points you in the direction of the dry lab. As you walk into the room, colourful animations and flashing buttons jump out of the dozen or so monitors lining the walls. You hear the buzz of excited marine scientists from around the globe double checking their devices are in working order, as the smell of Tony and Gavin’s freshly made apple pie wafts up the stairs. You are one of two people given the opportunity to learn the skills of seabed mapping from the national experts. But how?

Figure 1 – Left: Oisin McManus from the INFOMAR team in the dry lab. Right: Tony and Gavin – the chefs onboard the Celtic Explorer.

 

Two applicants, John Skehan and Abi Cronin, were chosen to take part on the INFOMAR survey from July 21st to August 6th 2017 as part of the Training Through Research Surveys (TTRS) scheme. This initiative, collaboratively organised by the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) and the Marine Institute (MI), acts as a national capacity building exercise to raise the level of marine science in Ireland, while giving early career researchers the opportunity to network with and learn from experienced marine scientists. Participants gain valuable marine data collection and observation experience on dedicated research surveys with leading Irish and European marine scientists. This programme is designed to provide mentored training for emerging marine scientists on surveys taking place off the western seaboard of Ireland and ranging as far as Newfoundland.

 

Figure 2 – Abi & John in the dry lab onboard the RV Celtic Explorer

 

John and Abi come from very different backgrounds with John’s initial degree being in IT. He recently completed an MSc in Geographical Information Systems & Remote Sensing at Maynooth University, and is currently working in the Surveying and Remote Sensing unit at Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI). Abi has an MSc in Coastal and Marine Management from University College Cork, and works in the Earth Observation Group of the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI). Both participants have a strong interest in mapping the seabed, however before this cruise they had very little experience actually collecting the data. This voyage allows them to throw themselves in the deep end and learn on the job.

 

Figure 3 – Abi & John keeping in contact with the bridge and deck crew

 

Onboard, Abi and John have undertaken quite an array of tasks, the most obvious being coordination of the three multibeam echosoudners: EM1002, EM302, and EM2040. While in charge of these devices, the scientists must know how to create new transect lines; look out for any anomalies in the data; activate lines for the ship’s autopilot; contact the bridge to inform the skipper of any line turns or change of plan; input Moving Vessel Profiler cast (MVP) data; as well as ensure the multibeam, backscatter and water column data is being stored appropriately.

 

Figure 4 – John & Abi in the dry lab onboard the Celtic Explorer

 

The scientists also took charge of communications and logistics for CTD (Conductivity Temperature Depth sensor) casts and sediment grab stations, ensuring all data was collected safely and efficiently. To keep the data organised, we log each MVP, multibeam line, grab and CTD both in digital and paper format. This includes keeping a logbook up to date, and working with different navigation and metadata software: QINSY and Multilogger. For more information on INFOMAR’s toolbox you can read the most recent blog here.

 

Figure 5 – Left: A CTD device coming out of the water. Right: Abi keeping in contact with the bridge and deck crew

 

The TTRS scheme increases the national marine science research capacity through coordinated use of national infrastructure and facilities. This opportunity has allowed John and Abi to develop their skills, add to their existing seagoing experience, and network with established professionals in seabed mapping and oceanography.

 

A message from the author:

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to SMART Sea School for making this all possible through the TTRS scheme. This was a fantastic chance to work with the INFOMAR team Oisin, Kevin & Slava, as well as the scientists from the University of New Hampshire and College of Charleston. It’s been a pleasure learning from people who are enthusiastic about their research. Last, but most certainly not least, a massive thank you to the crew for making this such an enjoyable experience. Always open to questions and happy to share your stories, you took us in and made us feel welcome. All in all, an enjoyable learning experience. I hope to work with you all again in the future. In the meantime, I’ll be putting the knowledge we’ve gained to good use in MaREI.

 

Figure 6 – Blue skies on the RV Celtic Explorer in July 2017

 

Anything else you want to know? You can catch me on twitter at: @Abi_Cronin

‘For wave and tidal potential, geography is definitely on our side’

The below article was published in The Irish Times by Lorna Siggins. See here for the original article.

 

When one of the world’s largest energy companies identifies solar, wind and nuclear as targets for diversified investment, advocates of ocean energy might just feel despondent.

Similarly, when former US vice-president and Nobel prize-winning politician Al Gore places so much faith in solar power during his sequel documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel, one might expect a note of disappointment in Prof Tony Lewis’s voice.

However, Lewis is optimism undimmed when it comes wave and tidal potential. The fact that Saudi Arabia’s Aramco would identify sun and wind as priorities for diversification into renewables is as much about geography as the fact that solar and wind costs are falling.

“Of course, money is going into solar in the short term, as the Chinese have filled the market with cheap solar cells,” Prof Lewis says. “And there has been significant increase in interest in solar farms in Ireland.”

“But by 2050, we are going to need everything we have got to reach Paris climate agreement targets, and that has to include wave and tidal energy, solar, wind and biomass,” he says. “For wave and tidal potential, geography is definitely on our side.”

Dubbed Ireland’s “ocean energy daddy” and with a penchant for bow ties, Prof Lewis is emeritus Beaufort professor at University College Cork, and principal investigator at the State’s Marine Renewable Energy Ireland centre (MaREI) .

He is also host of next week’s European Wave and Tidal Energy conference in Cork – regarded as one of the world’s leading forums for this sector.

“When the first of these conferences was held in Greece, about 60 people attended. Ireland hosted the fifth of these in 2003, and there were about 160 registered,” he recalls. “We have over 450 registered for this one, and more people inquiring every day.”

Marine resources

The EU has set a target of 100 gigawatts of energy from marine resources by 2050. Some of the 366 papers and 78 parallel sessions listed for the conference in University College Cork, Cork City Hall and MaREI in Ringaskiddy will be debating how this can come about.

To put the European target in context, Ireland’s total annual generation capacity of energy from all sources is 10 gigawatts, and more than 85 per cent of that is imported.

“We need to develop our indigenous energy so that we have security of supply, but also to exploit the incredible market opportunity presented by the 100 Gigawatt target,”he says. “If you think of it, nearly two gigowatts of that 10 is from onshore wind, and the ocean could produce the balancing seven gigowatts if the entire west coast of Ireland was developed for same.”

Six years ago, an SQW Energy study for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland forecast that the island of Ireland ocean energy sector could be producing a net present value of €9 billion, creating “several thousand jobs”, by 2030. German engineering major Siemens estimated that this island’s offshore and onshore wind, wave and tidal resource accounted for one-third of all such potential in western Europe.

There’s a danger in overly ambitious targets and false optimism, however, as several early pioneers in the sector discovered to their cost. Prof Lewis acknowledges that there are still technical challenges, from anchoring to storage of excess power. An interim review of the State’s offshore renewable energy development plan is due this year.

Advances

At the same time, there have been many advances, with wind and solar costs below those of fossil fuel electricity in some parts of the world, and developments in biogas to create a liquid fuel from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, Prof Lewis notes.

“So we are going to have a combination of different ways of using energy, with batteries for storage making more sense in small communities – like Pacific islands, which may become niche developers of ocean energy,” he says.

“Smartgrids which combine wave energy and storage and different types of production, allowing for exporting excess, will also suit smaller communities,” he says. “Electronics allow this to happen.”

He points to the progress in tidal energy made by OpenHydro, founded in 2004 and employing some 120 people in Dublin and Carlingford, Co Louth.

“It is now selling tidal energy turbines in France and Canada, and building a factory in northern France,” Prof Lewis says. “Tidal stream energy offers less opportunities as a resource here, but the technology is simpler, so you could see large arrays of these turbines deployed very soon.”

“Similarly, Cork company Ocean Energy has been testing a 500kw device at the US Navy test site in Hawaii, with funding from the US and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland,” he says.

Next step

The Cobh company had initially tried its smaller scale technology at the Marine Institute’s test site in Galway Bay, and this 500kw device is the next step. It may then be deployed at the ESB International West Wave project off the Clare coast, he says.

“Both Ocean Energy and Sea Power are hoping to overcome the challenges of developing proper anchoring/mooring systems, working with other Irish companies,” he says.

The progress, or otherwise, of adequate planning legislation is another one of those loose ends. A Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill has been listed as a “priority” for several Dáíl terms. The legislation is driven by the EU’s “blue growth” strategy, and gives new powers to Bord Pleanála and coastal local authorities.

“I guess it has to be fit for purpose, and that includes communities,” Prof Lewis acknowledges. “It is a matter of balancing use of the marine environment for energy, fishing, aquaculture and tourism – to everybody’s satisfaction.”

SIMCelt Project Closing Event

The MaREI coordinated project, SIMCelt will have its final project meeting on 28/29 November 2017 in Liverpool.

What Happens if the Wind Doesn’t Blow: A Short Story on Gas and Electricity Interactions in Europe

 

By Paul Deane

 

After the sweltering heat in Europe this summer, the cold snap of January 2017 seems a long time ago. However a 2 week period in January serves as an important reminder of why it is important to consider multiple elements of the energy system when planning for the future. Here I look at the interactions between the electricity and gas systems and what happens if things don’t quite go to plan….

It was a cold one. Atmospheric conditions in Europe in early January were dominated by blocking conditions bringing warm air towards north-western Europe and cold air into southern Europe. This contributed to low wind and solar generation in most of mainland Europe. Wind power generation was down by 15-20% across central Europe compared to the previous year and solar generation was insignificant. Europe was still recovering from a dry end to 2016 which continued into the first quarter of 2017. This pushed hydro reserve levels to several year lows and coupled with freezing conditions limited hydro’s generation potential. The European power system was coming under pressure…however this was only the start of the challenge.

France was struggling with ongoing safety tests at nuclear facilities while limited nuclear capacity was also an issue in Germany. The 2GW IFA electricity interconnector between France and the UK was damaged during the winter Storm Angus and was now working only at limited capacity. For large parts of Eastern Europe the second week in January was the most extreme of the winter. Russia experienced the coldest Orthodox Christmas in 120 years, and temperatures dropped to almost -30°C in Romania. People needed heat, significantly increasing the demand for electricity and gas.

Low availability of nuclear and low availability of renewables meant that conventional gas and coal fired generation filled the gap. Natural gas consumption in power generation in the EU reached the highest level in the last seven years in January 2017 (65TWh of electricity from gas). Coupled with increased gas demand for residential heating, gas storage facilities in central Europe saw big withdrawals of gas even as pipeline imports from Russia and Algeria increased. Equally coal imports from Russia and Columbia were up on previous years to meet extra demand from power generation.

Thankfully, the cold snap resided towards the end of the month and the power system got through the crisis. Major electricity supply disruptions did not occur during the cold spell although several countries imposed export bans. Bulgaria imposed a 27 day long electricity export ban. Retail electricity prices for household customers in central Europe went up by 1.8%. Some regions like Ireland, UK and Nordic Europe were relatively spared from the cold weather and wholesale prices remained at moderate levels in January. In short, it was a close call.

Our Research in UCC is looking at these issues. We are trying to understand these challenges across Europe as we transition to power systems with more weather dependant generation and fossil fuel imports from abroad. We use the PLEXOS Integrated Energy Model to understand how future gas and electricity interactions in Europe might impact market prices, security of supply and emissions. Our Existing analysis shows how supply interruptions of gas, gas storage and LNG availability can impact electricity prices. Our EU integrated gas and electricity models are freely available from Energy Exemplar who also provide PLEXOS for academic and commercial users. In the future we hope to add water interactions to these models.

If you’re interested in this area of research or would like collaborate or use our models, please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks to Conor Hickey for edits

Climate KIC “Pioneers Into Practice”

“Pioneers into practice” is a mobility program that encourages moving out of your comfort zone and learn about new approaches and opportunities emanating from climate change challenges. MaREI researcher Alessia Elia is taking part during the summer 2017.

ECOSTRUCTURE

Providing developers and regulators with accessible tools and resources to enable eco-engineering solutions for coastal adaptation.

MARINCOMP International Symposium

International Symposium on “Novel Composite Materials and Processes for Marine Renewable Energy”, Cork, Ireland, September 1st 2017

A 1-day International Symposium will be held in Cork, Ireland on September 1st, 2017 on the topic of ‘Novel Composite Materials and Processes for Marine Renewable Energy’.  The symposium is being organised by the consortium behind the EU FP7 Marie Curie IAPP project MARINCOMP, led by University College Cork and the University of Edinburgh, and involving partners University of Ulster; Toray Carbon Fibers Europe, ÉireComposites, Suzlon Energy and Scotrenewables Tidal Power.

To book, please follow this link – International Symposium

Sophie Power Climate KIC Summer School Blog

MaREI Researcher Sophie Power is attending Climate KIC’s Summer School 2017. Here is her latest blog on her experiences and what she is learning.

UCC Climate Lab 2017 Seminar Series

MaREI at SeaFest

MaREI and Galway Atlantaquaria teamed up to present an interactive exhibit ‘Discover Oceans of Energy’ at SeaFest…

MaREI Wins Excellence In Marine Research at Seafest

Minister Michael Creed and Dr Mark White present Prof. Jerry Murphy with MaREI’s Excellence in Marine Research Award

 

MaREI and the Lir National Ocean Test Facility Win at the Marine Industry Awards

MaREI and the Lir National Ocean Test Facility have won the Excellence in Marine Research Award and the Excellence in Marine Renewable Energy Award respectively at the recently held Marine Industry Awards held in Galway as part of SeaFest 2017. The Awards reflect the Centre’s contribution to excellence in Ireland’s maritime economy which, in 2016, showed a 23% increase in turnover, a 20% increase in gross value added (GVA) and a 10% increase in employment compared to 2014.

 

Professor Jerry Murphy, Director of MaREI said, ‘I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of the MaREI Centre. The Centre continues to grow and represents six institutes across Ireland, employs over 180 researchers and has over 45 industry partners. This latest success reflects the cutting edge and impactful research that we are carrying out across the Marine, Marine Renewable Energy and Renewable sectors.’

Techcentral.ie Interviews John Ringwood

Techcentral.ie recently interviewed MaREI Principle Investigator Professor John Ringwood. Read about what he has to say in this article.

Achievements of the Celtic Seas Partnership

 

By Sarah Twomey

 

The Celtic Seas Partnership was an international project funded by LIFE+, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment. It brought together, governments, sea-users and scientists to find new ways of managing the marine environment to secure a sustainable future for our valuable marine economy and to protect our precious seas.

Over the past four years, the WWF-led Celtic Seas Partnership has been bridging the links between marine stakeholders and policy, building key relationships and developing a toolbox of resources to support the management of the Celtic Seas. University College Cork’s MaREI Centre coordinated the stakeholder engagement activities in Ireland through a series of two national and three international workshops from 2013- 2016. The final event took place in Croke Park, Dublin in October 2016, attracting over 100 delegates representing a wide range of sectors across the Celtic Seas.

Key achievements include:

  • influencing the Governments’ Programmes of Measures for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in Ireland, the UK and France
  • scenarios developed with stakeholders for the Future Trends study are being used by the Marine Management Organisation as the basis for their own future
  • scenario work for Marine Spatial Planning around England
  • evaluation of the project identified that what people valued most about the project was the unique opportunity to meet and work with others from different sectors and different countries. The project also helped to improve people’s understanding of marine policy and to empower them to get involved in shaping policy. This has created a better environment for implementing the policy which should in turn bring environmental improvements

Through the active involvement of stakeholders representing government, industry and civil society from Ireland, the UK and France, the project recently launched a host of resources to support the implementation of integrated approaches to our seas. Examples of these outputs range from guidance documents such as Guidelines for Planning Authorities and Engaging stakeholders in regional marine policy, an interactive website exploring Future Trends, a Celtic Seas Information Portal and a series of videos showcasing a range of locations across the Celtic Sea, as well as Irish stakeholders including Cork-based Richard
Cronin (Dept. of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government) and Dublin-based Catherine Barrett (BIM).

Celtic Sea Partnership: http://www.celticseaspartnership.eu/

 

This article appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of Inshore Ireland

Event Report | International Ocean Colour Science Meeting

This year, the Third International Ocean Colour Science (IOCS2017) Meeting took place 15-18th May in sunny and warm Lisbon, Portugal. Read the event report here.

Ash Bennison and Cian Luck Podcast On The Life Of Marine Ecologists

This episode of the That’s What She Said Podcast features Ashley Bennison and Cian Luck, two marine ecologists from the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy, Cork, Ireland.

Ash gained his MSc in Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Exeter and after working with Siberian Jays in Swedish Lapland, moved to UCC where he has been a researcher for the past 3 years and is currently studying for his PhD in seabird ecology.

Cian graduated from UCC in 2012 with a BSc in Zoology, and again in 2013 with an MSc by research. He has spent 18 months as a zoological field assistant with the British Antarctic Survey on Bird Island, South Georgia. We speak of the enchanting life of researchers on expeditions, the difference between grey seals + harbour seals, the sedate creatures who reside in the Galapagos, the stress of cooking for strangers and much much more. All in all, our self proclaimed ‘bird nerds’ take us on a flight so compelling that we wanted more.

The hour features music from Bjork, Fleetwood Mac and Stornaway.

2017 INORE European Symposium – Co. Clare, Ireland – August 20th to 26th

If you are a graduate student, early-stage researcher, or young professional in offshore renewable energy, you’re invited to Ireland for the INORE’s annual European Symposium! It will take place between the 20th and 26th of August, the week just before the EWTEC conference happening in Co. Cork. Join us for five days of research sharing, idea exchange, workshops, technical and site visits in a dynamic and informal environment. Meet and collaborate with like-minded individuals from around the world specializing in offshore renewable energy, including:

  • Technology and engineering of offshore renewable devices
  • Environmental monitoring and sustainability of marine renewables
  • Marine resource assessment
  • Policy and human dimensions of renewable energy

This year’s Symposium will be held in the west coast of Ireland, a region known for its potential for the marine renewable energy sector. Technical visits to the research centres leading the offshore energy test infrastructure of the country in Co. Cork and Co. Galway are organised. The main venue and accommodation will be the Burren Outdoor Education Centre, a large centre for outdoor activities in the heart of the wild preserved Burren region in Co. Clare.

Thanks to our sponsors, symposium activities, food, and lodging are free for attendees. However, travel expenses to reach the symposium will not be covered. We will also be able to offer a limited number of travel grants to partially reimburse costs for long-distance attendees with financial need.

This year, the main sponsor of the EU Symposium is SEAI (Sustainable Authority of Ireland) who plays a leading role in transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices.

International Marine Governance: Sarah Twomey

Sarah is an Ocean Governance PhD student focusing on stakeholder participation in governance processes in complex transboundary marine contexts.

MaREI Research Featured in the Irish Times

MaREI Researchers Take Part In Sprint Programme

 

Gerry Sutton, MaREI Research Centre; Dr Anne Moore, UCC School of Pharmacy and Dr Michael O’Connor, MaREI Research Centre (All participants on the SPRINT Programme)

 

The Sprint accelerator programme at UCC’s Gateway innovation hub is celebrating its second year with a new cohort of potential startups.

A new batch of 12 ideas are taking part in Sprint II, the accelerator programme at Gateway, the innovation hub of University College Cork.

The chosen participants are developing services for a number of industries and issues, including infant neurology, irritable bowel syndrome, renewable energy, data analytics and scientific instrumentation.

Established as a support programme for spin-out and researcher-led UCC start-ups seeking accommodation in the Gateway hub, Sprint’s second coming was revealed on 5th May by Prof Patrick O’Shea, president of the university.

“Research in our technology centres and institutes is delivering valuable and novel solutions to many of the issues we face today,” said Myriam Cronin, manager of Gateway UCC.

“Supporting innovators from idea generation to start-up, with a particular focus on commercialisation of research, has been key to the success of Gateway UCC, now recognised as a leading innovation and incubation centre nationally.

“Following the success of Sprint, we have adapted and grown the accelerator programme this year, and we are delighted to announce a second programme.”

Since opening in 2011, Gateway UCC claims that the start-ups that have come through its hub – numbered in the 40s – now employ 250 people and contribute an estimated €15m in wages and €5m in tax to the local economy.

Calling it a “true example of the ‘triple helix’ at work”, O’Shea lauded the coming together of academia, government and industry, before highlighting the effectiveness of Sprint by lauding last year’s stand-out participant.

O’Shea presented the an award to medical device start-up Skellig Surgical, which focuses on the development of user-centred, minimally invasive technology. The company made news in January when its first commercial product – designed to manipulate organs that obscure and limit the ability to perform keyhole surgery – was licensed.

O’Shea also presented an award to Food Choice at Work, a start-up developing a management system for healthy eating in the workplace. Both companies are resident in Gateway UCC, employing 12 people between them.

MaREI Researchers at the Ecological Vehicles and Renewable Energies Conference

 

At the recent EVER (Ecological Vehicles and Renewable Energies) conference in Monaco http://conference.evermonaco.com/, from 11 to 13 of April, there were three papers presented from MaREI researchers.

These were:

  • Offshore Renewable Energy Systems: Solutions for Reduction in Operational Costs Romano Capocci, Gerard Dooly, Daniel Toal
  • Applying Hardware-in-the-Loop capabilities to an ocean renewable energy device emulator James F. Kelly, Ross Christie
  • Energy Storage Solutions for Offshore Wave and Tidal Energy Prototypes Dónal B. Murray, Paul Gallagher, Ben Duffy, Vincent McCormack

Also MaREI’s Dr Sara Armstrong received an outstanding contribution award for organising the special session entitled “Offshore and Marine Renewable Energy: Conversion and Transmission” at the conference.

MARISMA

The primary focus of MARISMA is on implementing Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), a process which guides when and where human activities occur in the ocean.

Future Earth Coasts

Future Earth Coasts is a ‘community’ of organisations, scientists and practitioners from all disciplines of science, engineering, the humanities and law whose work addresses Global Environmental Change, contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and social learning.

April MaREI Newsletter Now Available

 

 

Catch up with the latest news, blogs, industry features and event reports from MaREI. Some highlights of the April Newsletter include:

  • MaREI to coordinate MARINERG-i project
  • MARINET2 Open for Applications
  • Wavepower establish an office in The Entrepreneur Ship
  • MaREI Green Gas Position Paper Launched
  • And lots more…!

Click here for the full newsletter.

Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to keep in touch!

MARINET2

MARINET 2 aims to provide greater access to testing infrastructures across Europe, and is driven to improve the quality of testing internationally through standardisation of testing and staff exchange programmes.

SIMCelt

Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Seas (SIMCelt) is a two-year project that aims to enhance cross-border cooperation between Member States on the implementation of the Marine Spatial Planning Directive (MSP).

MARINERG-i

MARINERG-i will produce a scientific and business plan for an integrated European Research Infrastructure, designed to facilitate the future growth and development of the Offshore Renewable Energy sector.

Joseph Coleman on Pint of Science Limerick 2017

Pint of Science Limerick

MaREI researcher, Joseph Coleman, from the University of Limerick, participated in the Pint of Science Limerick event, bringing science and engineering closer to general public.

MaRINET2 1st Access Call Opening 10th April

The EU MaRINET2 initiative first access call is opening on the 10th April, the website www.marinet2.eu will also become live on that date. MaRINET2 is a network of 39 partners, involving research centres and organisations cooperating to progress offshore renewable energy technologies such as wave, tidal and offshore-wind.  It achieves this through marine energy development companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers with fully-funded access to marine energy experts and advanced test facilities.

 

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Daniel Toal

Robotics in Space, Underwater, Industry and the Law

MMRRC’s deirector and MaREI Co-PI, gave a talk on the Engineers Ireland event, jointly organised by Engineers Ireland, Mechanical and Manufacturing Division, and Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Jelly Fish - Damien Haberlin

Jellyfish – Indicators of change?

For many years jellyfish were a forgotten component of marine ecosystems, described in a rather derisory way as a “trophic dead end” and therefore not really worthy of consideration. This was quite the fall from grace, considering jellyfish had at one time, occupied the minds of some of history’s most influential naturalists. Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley and Ernst Haeckel to name just a few were fascinated by these delicate creatures that might help them explain the mysteries of evolution and the radiation of different body forms.

 

 

Top left, Leuckartiara octona; top right, the crystal jelly Aequorea forskalea; bottom right, the compass jelly Chrysaora hysoscella; bottom left, the barrel jelly Rhizostoma octopus.

 

 

In the last 30 years or so, there has been a renaissance of sorts in jellyfish ecology and we now know that they contribute significantly to marine ecosystems. Jellyfish can be voracious predators, consuming a variety of zooplankton including crustaceans, fish eggs and larvae and indeed other jellyfish. In this way, they compete directly with many fish species which rely on the same prey species as jellyfish. When conditions are favourable some species can bloom to enormous densities and come to dominate an ecosystem, significantly reducing the food available for other species. What exactly constitutes favourable conditions is not fully understood and undoubtedly varies from species to species, but jellyfish are well placed to thrive when ecosystems are pushed beyond tipping points. This is perfectly illustrated by events in the Black Sea during the 80s and 90s.

 

Jellyfish 2

Ctenphore species Beroe sp. taken by a diver off the Cork coast.

 

In the early 80s the Black Sea was a heavily populated and overfished body of water. It received catchment waters from a region of unregulated industry and intense agriculture within the former USSR territories, leading to eutrophication. All the bordering countries had competed over the highly prised sardine fishery with little attempt at cross border management of the resource, leading to vast reductions in fish numbers. At some point the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi was accidentally introduced into the Black Sea and was able to thrive; feeding on crustaceans, fish eggs and larvae, the Mnemiopsis population exploded with catastrophic impacts on the fish and zooplankton abundance. Without a natural predator, Mnemiopsis dominated the region and spread into connected water bodies. Ironically, the introduction of another ctenophore Beroe ovata, which preys on other ctenophores, began to control Mnemiopsis abundance to some degree, allowing the ecosystem to partially return to the earlier regime.

 

The events in the Black Sea are complex and teasing them apart in hindsight is difficult, however, they highlight the ability of jellyfish to respond quickly to changes in an ecosystem. They also demonstrate that although the ecosystem changed rapidly, its resilience was probably eroded over a period of decades before being tipped over into a vastly different jellyfish dominated ecosystem.

 

The events in the Black Sea represent something of a worst case scenario and there is little evidence that it has been replicated elsewhere, least of all in the Celtic Sea. However, it does demonstrate that large scale ecosystems can be forced to change, whether that forcing comes from anthropogenic or natural sources. We can use our improving knowledge of jellyfish ecology to look at long-term datasets of jellyfish abundance in the Celtic Sea and try to spot changes in the ecosystem. Some species common in the Celtic Sea have multiple generations in a season and therefore they respond quickly to environmental changes, making them something of a sentinel species. In addition, we will use recent research cruises in the Celtic Sea to investigate the summer jellyfish abundance in the region. While this sampling only gives us a single snapshot in time, that snapshot extends over a large and complex water body with distinct water masses. Analysing the zooplankton community and abundance within these changing water masses can reveal important insights into changing zooplankton ecology.

 

Surface temperature during July 2015, with total jellyfish per cubic metre sampled at each station, showing the heterogeneous distribution of jelly fish across the area sampled.

 

Damien Haberlin is a PhD Researcher with the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (MaREI) based in University College Cork.

MaREI Researchers visiting University of Zagreb

MaREI Researchers from UL, Daniel Toal and Edin Omerdic, gave a talk at the University of Zagreb, under the EXCELLABUST project

San Marcos project meeting

The Spanish Armada Heritage Project Meeting at UL

The MMRRC team hosted a meeting to discuss the San Marcos Project, focused on the Spanish Armada shipwrecks.

Drone & Tech Expo Ireland

Drone & Tech Expo Ireland

Drone & Tech Expo Ireland took place in Dublin this weekend, 10-12 March 2017. We have enjoyed discussing drones with both professionals and general public.

Dingle IOThon

Dingle IOThon

MMRRC researchers participated in the Dingle IOThon event, focused on exploring the challenges and opportunities of the Internet of Things (IOT).

MaREI to Coordinate €2m EU Project Marinerg-i

Distributed Testing Infrastructures United To Create An Integrated Centre For Delivering Offshore Renewable Energy

MaREI Green Gas Position Paper Launched

MaREI have released a new position paper outlining the benefits and prospects of Green Gas. Find out more here.

MaREI Newsletter July Edition Now Available

Catch up with the latest news, blogs, industry features and event reports from MaREI.

EODAT

The ESA-funded Earth Observation Uptake in Developing Countries (EODAT) project is demonstrating the capability for EO data to be harnessed in providing high quality geo-information services which align with ESA, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank priorities.

BIM – Acoustic Device Development

SEAI – Tupperwave

UCC Alumni launches new book on Marine Geomorphology

UCC Alumni Darius Bartlett launches new book in the UCC ERI Beaufort Building: ‘Geoinformatics for Marine and Coastal Management’

Opportunities For Ireland In A Low Carbon Economy – Our 2050

Our 2050 – Opportunities for Ireland In A Low Carbon Economy builds an ambitious new strand of research expertise in Ireland on the economic opportunities arising from the transition to a low carbon economy.

MaREI researcher on North South Atlantic Training Transect 2016

MaREI’s Abi Cronin was amongst twenty-five researchers chosen from a pool of five-hundred to take part in the North South Atlantic Training Transect (NoSoAT) 2016. Here she gives us a brief account of her experience…

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On the 10th of December applicants from eighteen different countries travelled to Bremerhaven to participate in the opportunity to train in marine research on board a German research vessel. The overall goal of the program is to allow early career professionals to learn more about practical marine science and it’s link to climate change. The educational program focused on different topics including oceanography, remote sensing, ocean law, the ocean’s role in climate change, and scientific art. We were rocked to sleep every night for one month on board the RV Polarstern travelling from Bremerhaven to Capetown, with a brief stop off in Las Palmas.

The multidisciplinary approach allowed for a rich array of weather, climate, atmosphere and ocean research and measurements. This encouraged us to build a network of contacts from several different backgrounds. Various social nights were held to encourage this networking, including a BBQ as a reward for making it through the equator baptism, where we were put through our paces in the name of King Neptune.

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Participants measured ocean temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll and pH using an XBT (Expendable Bathythermograph), CTD (Conductivity, Temperature and Depth), UCTD (Underway CTD) and various lab analyses including flow cytometry. This enabled us to gain skills in offshore data collection with instruments a lot of us previously had no experience using.

water-masses

By mapping our measurements along the north-south transect of the Eastern Atlantic we could identify water masses by their characteristic temperatures and salinity. Below we can see three water masses identified along the transect, these include the Mediterranean Outflow Waters (MOW), the Antarctic Intermediate Waters (AAIW), and the North Atlantic Deep Waters (NADW).

This research is key to observing the ocean and atmosphere’s role in climate variations, it allows us to explain weather patterns and build more accurate predictive models. Ultimately, this research helps us to understand climate change.

I would like to thank all the sponsors of the NoSoAT Program for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it has fuelled my ambition to investigate the oceans through offshore measurements.

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About the Author:

Abi is a Research Assistant in the Earth Observation Group of MaREI. She graduated from UCC with a MSc in Coastal and Marine Management in February 2016, and joined the MaREI team the same month. At the moment, Abi is working on the ESA funded CINMarS and EODAT projects, as well as the H2020 funded Co-ReSyF project. She is extremely interested in offshore measurements and data.

For more information on Abi, please see her UCC research profile

MaREI to lead €10.5m EU marine renewable energy project

The EU MaRINET2 initiative aims to accelerate the development of offshore renewable energy technologies and infrastructure…

MaREI’s Tony Lewis honoured with distinguished award

French Ambassador Honours ‘Father of Ocean Energy’ Professor Tony Lewis with Chevalier des Palmes Académiques…

MRIA Forum

MaREI will be at the 8th Annual MRIA Ocean Energy Forum on Feb 3rd, showcasing the latest research and case studies of collaboration with industry partners.

Comanche ROV

MMRRC at UL purchased a new Remotely Operated Vehicle under the MaREI SFI grant

MMRRC at UL, has purchased a new ROV, and associated launch and recovery systems, under a MaREI SFI infrastructure grant.

MaREI researchers amongst those most cited worldwide

MaREI director Professor Jerry Murphy and researcher Prof Henry Curran were ranked amongst the most cited researchers worldwide according to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2016…

MaREI Researcher Author on New Publication on Marine Spatial Planning for Fisheries & Aquaculture

Anne Marie O’Hagan is one of the authors of a new publication on MSP for enhanced fisheries & aquaculture sustainability in the Near East

Floating wind turbine undergoes extreme testing in Irelands’ National Ocean Test Facility

Floating wind turbine undergoes extreme testing in Irelands’ National Ocean Test Facility

UCC’s Environmental Research Institute engages with climate change NGOs on future energy modelling scenarios

Non-governmental organisations visit UCC’s ERI recently for a stakeholder engagement event on climate change

2017 Maynooth Wave Energy Workshop

A wave energy workshop will be held in the Glenroyal Hotel, Maynooth on Friday the 20th of January, 2017

International Energy Conference in Ireland Walks the Walk on Climate Action

The first week of June in 2016 bore witness to the 35th annual International Energy Workshop (IEW) hosted in Ireland’s own University College Cork.

Launch of Strategic Roadmap for Ocean Energy

The ‘Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap’, produced by the Ocean Energy Forum, was recently launched to identify the challenges facing the sector on its path to commercial readiness and to identify solutions to overcome them.

Different Perspectives on the Energy Transition

The Environmental Research Institute hosted a joint seminar with the University of FH Burgenland, Austria on Friday, November 4th on Different Perspectives on the Energy Transition.

Carbon tax and Budget 2017

Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir examines how the Government could demonstrate a commitment to climate action and have more money to spend on budget day.

Wave Energy MaREI

Multi-Million Euro Ocean Energy Project Coordinated By MaREI Researchers At UCC

MaREI announces the kick-off of a multi-million euro technology development project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme…

TG4 interviews MaREI Researcher at Cork Science Festival

MaREI researchers took part in the Celebrate Science Open Day at UCC on Sunday Nov 13th as part of the Cork Science Festival…

CREDENCE Project Funding Announcement at SFI Science Summit

Science Foundation Ireland and the National Science Foundation in the US announced an award of €2m in funding for a renewable energy research project that will be undertaken by MaREI…

TAOIDE

The TAOIDE project will develop a fully-integrated generator to grid energy delivery system with high reliability and availability, suitable for use in multiple architectures of marine renewable energy systems.

MaREI at family events during Cork Science Festival

Its that time again, Cork Science Festival returns. This year is bigger and better than ever, with MaREI involved in two day events, suitable for all the family…

Cork Climathon 2016 Launched

The ERI and Energy Cork have launched the 2016 Cork Climathon to take place on the 28th October in Cork.

Oceantec WEC heads to bimep

Oceantec wave energy converter is en route to the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (bimep) for the upcoming testing campaign.

EPHEMARE

EPHERMARE aims to investigate the toxic effects of microplastics on marine organisms which are currently unclear and require further research.

OceanEd to provide courses to the Marine Renewable Energy Industry

MaREI will host two free Ocean Energy courses for the Marine Renewable Energy industry on October 17th and November 14th 2016…

Build2Spec

Built2Spec project will deliver new breakthrough technological advances through the development of new and innovative on-site quality assurance tools.

IEA Bioenergy International Webinar Series (June 2nd, 2016)

MaREI’s Interim Director, Prof. Jerry D. Murphy, currently sits as the Task Leader for IEA Bioenergy Task 37, and will present a webinar entitled ‘Green Gas’ on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016.

International Energy Workshop at UCC (June 1st, 2016)

MaREI researchers at the Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, have been involved in organising the 35th International Energy Workshop, which will take place at UCC on June 1st-3rd.

MaREI Signs MOU with Zhejiang University (July 22nd, 2015)

A delegation from the prestigious Zhejiang University, which included their Vice President and Director of the Institute for Thermal Energy, visited MaREI’s new headquarters at the Beaufort Building…

MaREI and MARINET Represented at ICOE 2016 (23rd-25th February, 2016)

MAREI and MARINET are delighted to support the 6th International Conference on Ocean Energy 2016 (ICOE 2016), held from 23rd-25th February at the EICC Edinburgh.

Climate Adaptation Workshops

The Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy are running a series of regional adaptation training workshops in September and October for Local Authority staff…

SeaFest 2015 (July 10th-11th, 2015)

Join MaREI for free family fun and festivities at SeaFest, Ireland’s national maritime festival!

MaREI students win awards at Civil Engineering Research Conference

MaREI students win awards at the Civil Engineering Research in Ireland 2016 (CERI2016) hosted at NUI Galway…

MaREI scientist travels to the Arctic to monitor sea bird colonies

Seabird colonies extending from Ireland’s Skellig Michael up to the Arctic are being monitored with time-lapse cameras as part of an international project on climate change.

5 Questions on Climate Change

Professor John Sodeau discusses climate change and what Ireland can do to play its part in the fight against the phenomenon termed global warming…

Comparison of piezoelectric materials for energy harvesting from civil infrastructure elements for use in health monitoring

Authors: P Cahill, V Pakrashi, N Jackson, A Mathewson; Publication: Life-Cycle of Structural Systems: Design, Assessment, Maintenance and Management; Research Area: Materials & Structures

MaREI’s Prof. Tony Lewis Honoured at Symposium (March 1st, 2016)

Global leaders in the field of marine renewable energy were in Cork on February 29th and March 1st to attend a 2-day symposium in honour of the ‘father of ocean energy’, MaREI’s Prof. Tony Lewis.

NTR Foundation and MaREI to Collaborate on Low-Carbon Opportunities (April 5th, 2016)

MaREI has secured €750,000 in philanthropic funding from the NTR Foundation to facilitate research on opportunities presented by transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

MaREI Researchers Guide Local Authorities’ Climate Adaptation Plans

The Environmental Protection Agency launched the publication of Guidelines for Planning for Climate Change adaptation for Local Authorities on May 26th.

Commissioning of Wave Tanks

The largest wave tank at the Lir National Ocean Test Facility was commissioned for operational use on Monday, April 25th. It was the first time that a 1 m high wave was generated in the tank.

eSurge

The eSurge project, funded by the European Space Agency, aims to increase the usage of satellite Earth Observation data in storm surge modelling and forecasting, by making it easier for the community to access and use this data.

CINMarS

CINMarS aims to identify mechanisms that underpin a strategy for developing stronger links and alliances between the space and maritime sectors.

MINATURA

The overall objective of MINATURA2020 is to develop a concept and methodology for the definition and subsequent protection of mineral deposits of public importance in order to ensure their best use in the future in order to be included in a harmonised European regulatory/guidance/policy framework.

SAFI

SAFI is leading to the development and evaluation of an integrated web-GiS-based Decision Support Service, disseminating the EO-derived ecological indicators to the various users concerned.

Beaufort Building to Officially Open (July 3rd, 2015)

MaREI’s new headquarters at University College Cork’s (UCC) Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork, will officially open on the 11th July 2015…

Discover Oceans of Energy

The MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy hosted a festival ‘discovery day’ event on Sunday, June 5th as part of the Cork Harbour Open Festival…

DTOcean

The TIDES project will deliver one of the first tidal energy farms, located 2km off the Co. Antrim coast of Northern Ireland.

COMMON SENSE

COMMON SENSE is a project that supports the implementation of European Union marine policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the CFP.

Wave Energy MaREI

TIDES

The TIDES project will deliver one of the first tidal energy farms, located 2km off the Co. Antrim coast of Northern Ireland.

LEANWIND

LEANWIND addresses industry challenges delivering deployment, operations and maintenance and decommissioning of large-scale offshore wind farms.

MINATURA

The objective of MINATURA2020 is to develop a concept and methodology for the definition mineral deposits of public importance to ensure their best use.

ATLAS

ATLAS creates a dynamic new partnership between multinational industries, SMEs, governments and academia to assess the Atlantic’s deep-sea ecosystems and Marine Genetic Resources to create the integrated and adaptive planning products needed for sustainable Blue Growth.

AQUACROSS

AQUACROSS supports EU efforts to enhance the resilience and stop the loss of biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and future aquatic ecosystem services.

FloTEC

The FloTEC project will demonstrate the potential for floating tidal stream turbines to provide low-cost, high-value energy to the European grid mix.

EXCELLABUST

EXCELLABUST will significantly strengthen marine robotics research by addressing networking gaps and deficiencies that exist between key organisations at the EU level.

Co-ReSyF

Co-ReSyF is a strategic initiative funded by the European Commission, aiming to support the development of coastal research though satellite data.

AWESCO

AWESCO is a training network that combines interdisciplinary academic and industrial network partners all of whom are experts in Airborne Wind Energy.

RICORE

RiCORE aims to establish a risk-based approach to consenting based on environmental sensitivity, the technology’s risk profile and the scale of the project.

MARIBE

MARIBE aims to identify opportunities for Blue Growth sectors to combine with other sectors via multi-use of space or in multi-use platforms (MUPs) and assist in the development of the most promising projects within these combinations.

AquaSpace

AquaSpace aims to provide increased space for aquaculture production by identifying and attempting to overcome key constraints limiting the industry’s development using an ecosystem approach leading to a sustainable increase in EU aquaculture, while maintaining environmental quality.

BRIDGE SMS

BRIDGE SMS is a software application that empowers engineers and key personnel to predict, identify and prepare for potentially destructive flood events.

NUIG hosts MaREI Symposium on Marine and Renewable Energy

Experts from across Ireland gathered at NUI Galway in May for a symposium on ‘Research, Development and Innovation in Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland’. The symposium was hosted by MaREI, Ireland’s Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy.

The demand for energy is growing relentlessly with the pressures of population growth and improved living standards. With a sea to land ratio of over 10:1, Ireland is ideally placed to address this challenge through our marine and renewable energy resources.

The main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the marine and energy spaces were discussed at the event. It provides an opportunity for researchers to disseminate their research, identify further opportunities for collaboration and discuss the future direction of marine and renewable energy in Ireland.

Professor Jerry Murphy, interim director of MaREI, said MaREI’s strategy is aligned to national priorities and international roadmaps in marine and renewable energy and Ireland’s transition to a low carbon energy future.

“MaREI research achieves high impact by ensuring relevance and accessibility to academia, industry and policy makers. One of MaREI’s great strengths is its multidisciplinary approach to research and its engagement with stakeholders. By working collaboratively across all MaREI’s six institutions and with its 46 industry partners, it is possible to assemble the skill sets needed for impactful research,” he said.

“The investment in world-class research facilities in Ireland for ocean energy is hugely important to bringing technology to market and helping Ireland to develop an export market for Ocean Energy Technologies,” said Dr Jamie Goggins, chairperson of the symposium and senior lecturer at NUI Galway.

“The recent State investment in the full scale structural testing facility for tidal turbine blades here at NUI Galway along with the one-quarter scale ocean energy test site and Ocean Observatory in Galway Bay position Ireland at the forefront of testing and development of ocean energy devices,” he added.

MaREI’s industry-led research programme provides innovative solutions that reduce the time to market, and reduce costs to a competitive level.

The Centre has built upon the excellent track record of well-established marine and energy-based research groups across each of its academic partners, covering a wide range of cross-cutting topics across these spaces, including device design and modelling, energy conversion and storage, novel materials and structural testing, operations and decision support, energy policy and modelling, and environmental monitoring.

MaREI is coordinated by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork and has 130 researchers working across six academic institutions collaborating with over 45 industry partners.

MARINCOMP

“Novel Composite Materials and Processes for Offshore Renewable Energy” (MARINCOMP) (Grant no: 612531) is a European Commission, Marie Curie 7th Framework Programme funded Project.

MaREI Awarded Over €4m in SFI Infrastructure Funding

MaREI have been awarded over €4m in grants for research equipment and facilities from the SFI Infrastructure fund for an Open Ocean Emulator (OOE) at UCC and a Marine Renewable Energy Remotely Operated Vehicle (MRE-ROV) at UL. This infrastructure funding was awarded competitively following rigorous international review to research groups where the research equipment and facilities are required to address major research opportunities and challenges including partnerships with industry.

The Open Ocean Emulator integrates test tank developments, state-of-the-art instrumentation and electrical infrastructure such that to create the most advanced small scale model testing capability worldwide. It will complement existing facilities at the Lir Ocean Test Facility at the UCC Beaufort Building in Ringaskiddy and enhance Irelands R&D capacity. The OOE will accurately replicate real ocean wave conditions in a laboratory setting and in combination with the use of advanced instrumentation will improve our understanding on how marine structures, such as wave energy converters, floating wind turbines and tidal energy devices, behave. This advanced testing capability will accelerate the path from technology design to real-world applications and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the offshore renewable energy industry in Ireland.

The MaREI team at UL were awarded close to €2M in funding for an MRE-ROV, a key piece of support infrastructure for the development and testing of wave and tidal energy converters and for research and development of technologies for inspection, repair and maintenance of MRE infrastructure in the challenging high energy off shore conditions at MRE farms.

MaREI Phd student wins Eirgrid Sustainable Energy Prize

MaREI PhD student Xiufeng Yue has been named UCC’s top Masters graduate in Sustainable Energy by EirGrid…

UCC to host EWTEC 2017

The European Wave and Energy Tidal Conference (EWTEC) 2017 will be held at University College Cork, Ireland from 27th August…

The Underwater Battle of the Robots

The Irish Naval Service were announced as the winning team of the IMERC Mechathon which took place in the Lir National Ocean Test Facility in the MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy…