Offshore Energy Expert to Discuss Ireland and UK Collaboration at NUI Galway

Monday, 9 March 2009

'Integrated Approaches to Offshore Renewables' is the subject of an upcoming lecture at NUI Galway by Seamus Garvey, Professor of Dynamics at the University of Nottingham. During his talk, Professor Garvey will propose that a collaborative approach should be adopted in relation to the research and development efforts of Ireland and the UK in the area of offshore renewables. The lecture takes place at 1pm, on 13 March, in Room AC204, Arts and Science Building, NUI Galway. Professor Garvey argues that not only do Ireland and the UK have abundant marine renewable resources, they have much more in common besides. While neither country has sufficient fossil-fuel resources to make them energy-secure even if climate change were not an issue, both have impressive engineering capabilities that are not fully exploited at present. In addition, Ireland and the UK have high aspirations for the proportion of energy to be sourced from renewables by 2020, yet neither has any substantial indigenous renewable-energy industry - compared with countries such as Denmark, Germany and the USA. Professor Garvey also proposes that wind, wave and tidal resources not be used to directly generate electricity, but to collect available power in the form of compressed air. That compressed air can be stored and later expanded to develop electrical power in large-scale, cost-effective, and efficient generators. According to Professor Garvey: "The deep Atlantic waters accessible from the west coast make this particular energy-storage scheme especially attractive to Ireland. Far from Ireland potentially using the UK as a major component in resolving its future energy-intermittency issues (as has been suggested), it is entirely likely that Ireland can provide precisely this service to the UK". The event will be attended by several engineering experts and representatives from Irish industry. Sean Leen, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway says: "Galway's Atlantic coast location provides an excellent opportunity to act as a hub for ocean and renewable energy technology development. The University plans to work closely with local industry and research institutes to facilitate this. One example of this is the collaboration with successful global subsea engineering consultancy, MCS, which is a spin-out company from NUI Galway". With headquarters in Galway, MCS offers advanced engineering and software solutions to the subsea industry. NUI Galway is already active in developing a number of sustainable energy technologies. For example, researchers at the Power Electronics Research Centre have developed novel battery charging and monitoring principles with engineers from Convertec Limited in Wexford, funded by Enterprise Ireland. This new technology plays a key role in improving safe and reliable operation of wind turbines in the North Sea. The recently established Energy Research Centre at NUI Galway, which operates within the University's Environmental Change Institute, provides an ideal framework for energy research at the University. For further information, contact Professor Sean Leen, sean.leen@nuigalway.ie
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