University College Cork Joins €3.3m EU Wave Energy Research Project

MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine hosted by University College Cork has joined a new collaborative research and innovation project that will develop and demonstrate a next generation testing approach for Wave Energy Converters (WECs).

IMPACT (Innovative Methods for Wave Energy Pathways Acceleration through Novel Criteria and Test Rigs) aims to accelerate testing device development and reduce the technology cost as part of a global advancement in wave energy converter technologies. The three-year €3.3m project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

MaREI’s role in IMPACT

In the IMPACT Project, MaREI will review the critical systems, components, failures and reliability of relevant WECs and will undertake Failure Mode Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA). The work will bring inputs from operation and maintenance models for wave energy technologies and will develop a quantitative model for studying the techno-economic aspects related to the wave energy sector.

In addition, an assessment of the potential positive and negative environmental effects from single devices to arrays of selected WEC types will be undertaken. This will help inform environmental assessment and consenting processes for WECs and subsystems of the test rigs.

Harnessing ocean power in Europe

If the challenging climate goals of the Paris Agreement are to be met, substantial investment in renewable energy technology is required now in order to make a difference. Wave and tidal energy is one of the last great opportunities for development of a significantly new renewable energy industry.

Wave energy has the theoretical potential to meet the world’s entire energy demand. The long-term vision of the International Renewable Energy Agency is to have a worldwide installed capacity of 337 GW by 2050, but the installed capacity in 2019 was just 531 MW.

European Energy Forum estimates conclude that wave energy could provide 10% of Europe’s power generation by 2050. However, radically different and slow development of present technologies limit that potential.

The Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission (EC) identified cost reduction and reliability as the main challenges for the wave energy sector to achieve competitive electricity costs.

New testing platform

The proposed 250kW Dual Hardware-In-the-Loop (DHIL) testing platform is based on a technology which expands the capabilities of the already established Hardware-In-the-Loop technique. The test facilities will be hosted by project coordinator VGA, located in central Italy.

Industry involvement and demonstration

While five parties are involved in the project itself, other companies have joined the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) to help direct and guide the research. TAB members consist of possible end-users of the DHIL novel testing platform and/or the new methodologies to make it highly relevant to a wide cross-section of industry.

Project research and results will be disseminated in two technical workshops. A methodologies and metrics focused workshop will be held at a future edition of the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, while the technology itself will be demonstrated at the VGA test facilities in Italy.

In order to facilitate their implementation in future testing practices for the development of wave energy technologies, a publicly available report on the novel DHIL approach, methodologies and metrics will be released on the project website.

Feature Project


The IMPACT project is funded under the topic “Building A Low-Carbon, Climate Resilient Future: Secure, Clean And Efficient Energy”.

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Europe-wide competence

IMPACT brings together cross-functional ocean energy and industrial engineering competence and testing facilities from five partners across Europe.

Further Information:

MaREI is the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine Research and Innovation co-ordinated by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at University College Cork (UCC). The Centre comprises over 220 researchers focusing on defined global challenges such as the Energy Transition, Climate Action and the Blue Economy.

VGA is an Italian engineering company specialised in the design and development of complex systems and high technology prototypes such as test rigs, electromechanical actuators, storage solutions and control systems.

Yavin Four Consultants brings together specialists in emerging offshore renewables to provide technical, commercial and strategic advice.

SINTEF Energy Research is a Norwegian not-for-profit research institute with great expertise in energy systems, smart grids and energy efficiency.

SINTEF Ocean brings an extensive focus on structural and hydrodynamic test laboratories, marine technology and biomarine research.

You can find out more information about IMPACT and stay updated by signing up for the project newsletter here.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101007071.


Project Contacts:

Dr Jimmy Murphy ei.ccu@yhprum.ymmij ; +353 21 4864313)

Dr Mitra Kami Delivand (ei.ccu@dnaviledimak.artim ; +353 21 4864425)