2015 Press Releases

Full steam ahead for UCC Beaufort

3 Feb 2015
Pictured: Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Alex White T.D. as he performed the “topping out” ceremony at the UCC Beaufort building in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork. Also pictured is Professor Anita Maguire, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at UCC and UCC Beaufort Director/Director of MaREI, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh (centre) (Image by Provision)

A construction milestone has been reached at UCC Beaufort in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork, where Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Alex White T.D. recently performed a 'topping out' ceremony.

The building is set to house the largest dedicated team of marine researchers globally and is on schedule to open in July 2015.

Minister White said that Ireland had the potential to become the international focal point of the international marine renewable industry, pointing out that the marine renewable energy sector could be worth €9 billion by 2030 and support significant job creation in Ireland. The Minister added that his department’s support for research and development in ocean renewables would increase by almost €17 million between 2013 and 2016, bringing it to over €26 million.

Speaking at the “topping out” ceremony, UCC Beaufort Director, Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh said: “As home to the world’s largest team of dedicated marine researchers, the Beaufort centre will be an international leader in the area of maritime research. This building is a world-class development in the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC), and it positions Ireland as the epicentre of research and innovation in marine energy industry.”

JJ Rhatigan & Company has been appointed as the main contractor for the construction and fit out of the UCC Beaufort Maritime and Energy Research Laboratory Building. The project started on the 6th January 2014 and is expected to take 17 months to complete. More than 200 jobs have been created in the construction of the UCC Beaufort building, which will employ 135 full time researchers when fully operational. The SFI Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) will be housed in the Beaufort Building, and will act as a catalyst to Ireland establishing a safe, sustainable and profitable marine energy supply for domestic and international markets through its collaborative and integrated approach with academia and industry.

The facilities at the 4,700 sq. metre building will include a composites laboratory, an ocean wave basin (25m x 18m x 2m.deep) with 40 wave paddles to produce real three dimensional seas at model scale. There will be mechanical and electrical workshops, a Power Take-Off lab and Energy Storage and Smart-grid labs as well as industry suites and an incubation space of 200 sq. metres initially. The infrastructure will house a coastal flume (27m x 3m x 1m deep) which includes a flow facility can be used to test tidal turbines. There will be mechanical and electrical workshops, a Power Take-Off lab and Energy Storage and Smart-grid labs as well as industry suites and an incubation space of 200 sq. metres initially.

Named after the Irish Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, who was responsible for the introduction of the globally adopted Beaufort Scale, the Beaufort Building will provide an accessible entry point for national and international industry and research groups focused on sustainable resource development and will ensure Ireland’s position as a global leader in maritime and energy markets.

Minister White quoted the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, whose recently-published Economic Study for Ocean Energy Development in Ireland found that a fully-developed ocean energy sector could be worth as much as €9 billion, and be sustaining many thousands of jobs on this island, by 2030.

Minister Sean Sherlock announced €19 million in SFI funding for MaREI in 2013, when he was Minister for Research and Innovation. This was matched by €10.5 million in industry funding.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. officially turned the sod on the Beaufort building in July 2013.  

MaREI announces €4 million in additional funding for maritime research sector

Announced the same day, 30 January 2015, Minister White also welcomed the announcement that the SFI Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) had successfully raised an additional €4.2 million in funding from EU research funds for marine energy activities. More than 130 industry and university representatives involved in a variety of marine energy research projects were on hand to hear the news as they attended the MaREI Industry Open Day at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork.

“I want to commend MaREI on their success in securing substantial EU support to fund their very important research and development work. It is truly laying the foundations for both the energy system and economic opportunity of the future.”

Speaking at the MaREI Industry Open Day, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, “MaREI is one of twelve SFI Research Centres of excellence and impact in Ireland. Research undertaken at MaREI is positioning Ireland to play a leading role in marine renewable energy research which is an area of significant national strategic importance. In its first year MaREI has delivered on the targets which we have set. I look forward to a successful year ahead for MaREI, in terms of new industry partnerships, leveraging funding and new discoveries that will deliver solutions that can benefit both Irish society and the economy.”

Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, who is the Director of the MaREI Centre as well as Director of UCC Beaufort, said that “Large and small companies alike are engaging with MaREI across a huge variety of business opportunities from marine robotics and new materials to endure ocean conditions, to offshore wind, wave and marine energy and mooring devices as well as aquaculture and grid technology solutions. The additional funding from the EU will serve to further position MaREI at the forefront of marine renewable research and commercialisation of this research globally.”

The industry-academia MaREI Centre comprises over 45 industry partners, including global market leaders in energy, marine technology, software and hardware providers. Academic partners include lead partner University College Cork along with Cork Institute of Technology, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, University College Dublin and the Marine Institute.

For further information, see the MaREI website.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF