Do you love solving real-world problems? Hear what it is like to work in Ocean Energy research

Do you love solving real-world problems?

Our MaREI colleagues in COER, the Centre for Ocean Energy Research in Maynooth University aim to solve fundamental problems that exist in making ocean energy real and bringing it to commercial fruition.

In this video, you’ll hear how varied a career in engineering can be and the multiple options open to you if you choose engineering as a career.

Why study engineering?
Engineering is a very large field. It covers mechanics, electrics and
computer, but in the end, all of these fields share the same basics. If
you study engineering you have the chance to understand many things of
modern life, but also processes in nature and society. At the same time, you learn how to apply this knowledge to improve and change existing technologies. So engineering combines theoretical science and practical skills.

What is wave energy?
Wave energy in the sense of ocean wave energy conversion is the aim to make the energy that is transported in ocean waves useful for our everyday lives, for example electrical energy. A simple concept is a buoy that is moved by the waves and the movement of the buoy drives a small electrical generator that outputs electrical power. Such a device is called a Wave Energy Converter.

Is wave energy being used to make electricity at the moment?

Well, there are some wave energy converters that are being tested in the sea at the moment. However, they are not connected to the electrical grid that bring the energy to houses and to industry. However, there are some commercial power plants, that make use of the tidal current, so the flow of water between high and low tide. But this is normally not considered as wave energy, but as tidal energy.

How much of our electricity can come from ocean energy?
That’s a good question! It is really hard to calculate this. So there are some estimations, but nobody can say for sure. If you have seen a storm at the west coast of Ireland, you know that there is a lot of
energy in the water, the problem is, nobody knows how much we can absorb and make it useful for our daily lives. So how much energy can come from the ocean depends how successful the wave energy converters are.

What do you have to be good at in order to study wave energy?

The most important thing is to be interested in it! Wave energy conversion covers a wide range of topics, so a lot of different expertise is needed. When you are going to decide what you want to study, you should ask yourself: What I am interested in? You will then find a path to match your field of interests with your skills.