Queen’s University Belfast has secured over €9.3 million from the EU’s Interreg VA Programme to create a ‘virtual center of competence’ that will support cross-border research into wave and tidal energy in UK and Ireland.
The research will focus on the use of tidal power at Strangford Lough and the North Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, ocean energy sites in Western Scotland, as well as the potential for wave and tidal power generation in Donegal in Ireland.
Known as the Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy Research, the EU-funded project will recruit 34 PhD students and six post-doctoral research associates to produce industry relevant research that has the potential for strong commercial benefit.
The partners in the project include the University of Highlands and Islands, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, Donegal County Council, and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the EU’s Interreg VA Programme, said: “The region has a low level of industry-relevant research and innovation within the renewable energy sector. The Bryden Centre project will help address this issue by creating a new center of competence made up of dedicated PhD students creating high quality research with strong commercial potential.”
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the project, Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said: “The project involves practical cross border cooperation which will benefit colleges and companies from both jurisdictions. Advanced research on Renewable Energy is a very worthwhile project and this work will contribute many benefits, including a long-term legacy for the future.”
The project will also include research on bio energy, with a focus on heat, biogas and electricity which can be produced through the anaerobic digestion of agri-food waste