Dr. McNabola and colleagues became partners on the REDAWN programme with the ambition to ‘reduce energy dependency in Atlantic area water networks’.
With the help of European Regional Development funding the partners set to work bringing a range of expertise and experience to the joint-initiative.
They turned on the tap of creative thinking. “In Southern Europe there’s a far greater emphasis on irrigation which we don’t need as much here in Ireland so the partners in Portugal and Spain are looking at that while we are focussing more on water for drinking and other uses,” explains Dr McNabola. “The glass of water in your hand is an expensive substance.
Not only do we need energy to pump it around, but it also needs to be treated. That all costs money. We’re looking at how can we reduce wasted energy without reducing pressure.
Less energy means less cost. We’re looking at producing relatively inexpensive turbines to go into water pipes to help reverse water flow, generating energy at a fraction of the current cost.”
The savings could be substantial for the state and consumers. Also, businesses which use a lot of water stand to benefit greatly.
“Thanks to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) we’ve been able to work on this for a number of years now, in both REDAWN and a previous Interreg funded project,” explains Dr McNabola.
He adds: “We hope that our findings and developments can have a long-lasting and sustainable impact on how we consume and use water across Europe and the world. And that’s to everyone’s interests in the long-run.”