Model of the large structures test facility for tidal turbine blade testing at NUI Galway.
Apr 21 2017 Posted: 08:53 IST

Free access available for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades at
NUI Galway in one of the few such testing facilities available worldwide

The Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland (MaREI) at NUI Galway will provide test facilities for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades as part of ‘MaRINET2’, a €10.5 million project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project is inviting an open call to offshore energy technology developers with applications closing on the 20 May 2017.*

Currently, in Europe, there is approximately 100 megawatts of tidal stream capacity and 32 megawatts of wave energy capacity when taking into account devices in the water, under construction and permitted. It is expected that between 2015 and 2020 the European ocean energy industry could spend a further €1 billion in research and development, and €3 billion to €4 billion to deploy the projected capacities.

With this momentum, the industry association, Ocean Energy Europe, estimates that 100 gigawatts of wave and tidal energy capacity can be deployed in Europe by 2050, that’s almost 1000 times more capacity than is currently available. This industry target is consistent with recent studies on the practical deployment potential of ocean energy in Europe. The global market for ocean energy could see 337 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050, a third of this would be in Europe.

Jamie Goggins, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, and lead Principal Investigator of the Structures and Materials research area in the MaREI, is responsible for the large structures test facility located at the University that is available under the MARINET2 programme. Commenting on the project, Dr Goggins said: “It is great to have our large structures test cell available for free access for offshore energy technology developers. We have experience of testing both wind and tidal turbine blades and structural components for a number of leading companies. We have invested over €1.5 million in this facility in recent years and understand that it is one of the few, if not the only, test facility in the world available for accelerated life testing studies of full scale tidal turbines under fatigue loading. We look forward to welcoming technology developers to our laboratory under the MARINET2 programme to use the facilities in the Alice Perry Engineering Building.”

Today 45% of wave energy companies and 50 % of tidal energy companies are from the new EU member states, EU13. According to the Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap ‘Building Ocean Energy for Europe’, the right support over the coming decade will enable Europe to maintain leadership in a global market, worth a potential €653 billion in investments between 2010 and 2050, and an annual market of up to €53 billion, hugely benefiting the European economy.

Reducing costs and increasing performance through innovation and testing is one of the six essential priority areas identified by the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Ocean Energy (TP Ocean) to be addressed to improve ocean energy technology and decrease its risk profile. To address the need of industry and researchers, a team in the MaREI Centre based at NUI Galway has developed the capability - infrastructure, personnel and knowledge - to conduct static and fatigue testing of full scale tidal turbine blades in the large structures test cell at the University.

These types of facilities are becoming essential to tidal turbine developers as the testing is an important step in the certification of their tidal turbine blades for use in full-commercial projects. This state-of-the-art facility, located in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at
NUI Galway, is now available to technology developers across Europe as part of the MARINET2 TNA programme.

MaRINET2 Project Coordinator, Jimmy Murphy from UCC highlighted the value of the project for the offshore renewable energy sector: “Over the next four years, MaRINET2 will be an important instrument in reducing the cost of development in Europe’s offshore renewable energy sector. It will keep innovative new technologies progressing towards the marketplace, and keep Europe at the cutting edge of development globally. It will also strengthen Europe’s network of world-leading offshore renewables research infrastructure.”

Christophe Maisondieu the Marinet2 Access Coordinator for Ifremer (the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) welcomed the project: “The first Marinet project supported 178 projects over a period of four and a half years, and had a considerable impact on research into offshore renewables in Europe. We look forward to building on this success in MaRINET2, and help develop exciting new renewable energy technologies from around Europe.”

For details on eligibility criteria, how to apply, and available testing infrastructures please visit the Marinet2 website at www.marinet2.eu.

-Ends-

 

Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway

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