Irish scientists and engineers are making waves investigating the impact of renewable marine energy on the environment, thanks to EU funding.




Atlantic Area Programme

The MAREN project, launched in 2009, focused on the energy extraction potential of the Atlantic Ocean and its spin-off effects on aquatic species which today are stark sufferers of centuries of man-made pollution.

Marine energy, which is the power carried by waves, tides and ocean temperature is an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels, releasing zero harmful gases, wastes or pollutants into our air and waters.

MAREN was a collaborative project between NUI Galway and four Atlantic area universities – Cardiff University (Wales), University of Cantabria (Spain), Centec, Insituto Superior Tecnico (Portugal) and Iferner (France).

It received funding of €520,000 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and garnered international attention and widespread publication due to its findings.

Professor Michael Hartnett, Deputy Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway said the project was a precursor for further research and initiatives, one being the development of the MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy of which he too is Deputy Director.

MaREI, which is supported by Science Foundation Ireland, is home to more than 200 researchers investigating marine and renewable energy applications and developing marine technologies.

Professor Hartnett says: “That’s all because of INTERREG funding. It opened up a lot of doors for us in our area

of tidal energy. Working with our European partners allowed us to bring our expertise to the table and compare our findings which have since been published and presented at conferences at NUI Galway and in Lisbon.”

MAREN also looked at the impact of climate change on the CO2 reduction figures including how storms and floods effect CO2 release.

The development of the renewable marine energy industry in Ireland could lead to 70,000 jobs with the Atlantic Ocean representing huge potential for research and future European collaborations.

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