Irish-led tidal energy project awarded €3m from European Commission

ÉireComposites and National University of Ireland Galway part of winning consortium

The project hopes to demonstrate that the potential to generate gigawatts of clean energy from river and tidal currents

The project hopes to demonstrate that the potential to generate gigawatts of clean energy from river and tidal currents

 

A new Irish-led project intended to harness tidal energy has secured €3 million in funding from the European Commission.

Connemara-based specialist manufacturer ÉireComposites has partnered on the project with National University of Ireland Galway and Ocean Renewable Power Company (OEPC), a marine renewable energy firm headquartered in Portland, Maine.

The Crimson marine turbine project intends to develop a Marine Hydrokinetic (MHK) turbine, which when operational, will produce clean energy at a reduced cost, while increasing reliability and performance of electricity output.

It has been awarded funding via the commission’s Fast Track to Innovation programme.

Other organisations involved in the project, which is valued at €3.9 million, are Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials in Germany and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Italy.

Impact

Although the immediate impact of the adoption of the product is replacing energy produced by fossil fuel, the consortium hopes it will also demonstrate that the technology has the potential to generate gigawatts of clean energy from river and tidal currents.

It is estimated that there is some 615 terawatt-hour (TWh) per year of harvestable energy from tidal streams, ocean currents, and riverine currents and marine hydrokinetic power systems can harvest that energy. This is equivalent to about twenty times the Republic’s annual electricity usage.

“I believe Crimson will play a positive role in this transition in terms of driving down costs for both the industry and consumers but also increase the productivity of the renewable energy sector,” said Tomás Flanagan, chief executive of ÉireComposites.

The funding announcement comes just one month after ÉireComposites secured a contract to design and manufacture equipment for a satellite in what is a major milestone for Irish participation in space exploration.

Belgian company OIP Sensor Systems has tasked the company with designing and producing three carbon-fibre stray light baffles that will form part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Altius satellite. The baffles will be attached to the side of the satellite, which is to be launched into space from French Guiana by the end of 2023.

ÉireComposites, which is based in Inverin, was founded in 1998 and has about 60 employees. The company has a composites manufacturing and testing facility in the Gaeltacht village that produces equipment for a number of sectors, including aerospace, renewables, automotive, space and the marine.