€29m Marine Renewable Energy Ireland research centre opens in Cork

Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock, T.D. officially launched the Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) SFI Research Centre today at UCC.

The Centre will receive funding of €19million from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) with a further €10.5 million from 45 industry partners. This investment has the potential to position Ireland at the forefront of the marine renewable energy research sector globally.

Speaking at the launch of MaREI, Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock, T.D. recognised the commitment shown by Government, industry and academic partners, stating:

“By making Ireland an international focal point for the marine renewable industry, MaREI will help create solutions for the marine energy industry to meet national and international sustainable energy demands, and ensure that jobs created in this sector benefit the national economy. MaREI will prepare ocean technologies for market by removing technical and commercial barriers, and will directly create companies and jobs, thereby serving as a catalyst for Ireland to establish a safe, sustainable and profitable energy supply for domestic use and for export.”

MaREI will conduct world-leading research on all aspects of the marine renewable energy from marine robotics and materials to endure ocean conditions, to offshore wind, wave and marine energy devices as well as technologies to deliver power to the grid for electricity supply at home and abroad.

As an industry-academia research consortium, there are over 45 industry partners, including Bord Gas Energy, ESB Energy International, Intel, Siemens, DePuy, many other global market leaders and indigenous SMEs in the area of energy, marine technology, software and hardware. Academic partners include lead partner UCC along with University College Dublin, Cork IT, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Marine Institute and Teagasc.

MaREI will directly support 77 jobs and has the potential to support the creation of significant employment in the long-term through spin-out companies and intellectual property in the field of marine renewable technology and marine energy materials, devices and solutions for industry.

Professor Tony Lewis, MaREI Interim Director and Director of Beaufort Research UCC, added: “Ireland is one of the best locations in terms of marine renewable energy resources. This Centre will develop the science and technology solutions required by industry to develop commercial wave, tidal and floating wind energy devices through cutting edge research.”

Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government said: “This investment in marine renewable energy aims to position Ireland at the fore-front of this field and the potential for significant long-term economic impact cannot be underestimated. MaREI is one of seven world-class SFI Research Centres of scale and excellence that involve significant co-investment by industry partners. This investment reflects the excellence of the research and strategic relevance of the sectors to industry and Ireland.”

“This new Centre is another great example of UCC working with our partner academic institutions and industry to achieve Ireland’s strategic goals and this is a very significant step in Ireland being recognised as a world leader in the Marine Renewable Industry,” said UCC President Michael Murphy.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney T.D. conveyed his support for the SFI-funded MaREI Centre by video link from Norway to the launch event.

The new centre will look at a wide range of challenges concerned with the optimized deployment of marine renewable energy devices, the connection of such devices to the national grid, methods for storing the energy generated, and related marine governance, planning, economics and environmental issues. As well as supporting industry through integrated and collaborative research, MaREI will also educate and train the next generation of e