Irish Company Prepares to Test Wave Energy Device in Galway Bay

Sea Power in Foynes

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10th October 2016 - Irish company, Sea Power, is preparing to test their prototype wave energy device at the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site in the coming weeks. Following successful completion of testing at small scale, the company, which received grant support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), is now progressing to quarter scale testing in open sea conditions for the first time.

The Sea Power device has been in development for eight years and will soon make the short journey from Foynes in Limerick, where it was built, to the Galway Bay test site. Wave energy devices, such as Sea Power, will ultimately harness the extraordinary power of the waves off Ireland's coast, to generate electricity.

SEAI and the Marine Institute are working together to develop Ireland's ocean energy testing infrastructure which includes tank testing facilities at Lir National Ocean Test Facility in Cork, the consented quarter scale test site in Galway Bay and the planned full scale Atlantic Marine Energy Test Site off the Mayo coast.

Commenting SEAI Chief Executive Jim Gannon said: "It's very encouraging to see innovative Irish technologies progress through the country's testing facilities. Ocean energy is an emerging sector for Ireland, offering huge potential in job creation and energy security. With some of the most energy rich ocean resources in the world, located off our West coast, Ireland has the potential to become a market leader in this sector. Developing our sustainable energy resources allows us to move away from our reliance on imported fossil fuels, which cost our economy billions of euro a year."

Peter Heffernan, Marine Institute CEO said: "Sea Power Ltd is a great example of an indigenous Irish company developing novel technology to harness the power of the ocean. Having brought their device through various small scale prototypes, it is exciting to see this new technology being prepared for testing in the sea at quarter scale. We look forward to working with our partners SEAI and Seapower to make a significant contribution in the evolution of ocean energy as an environmentally friendly and cost effective source of power for Ireland."

Ireland already boasts other successes in ocean energy technologies with Irish companies such as Ocean Energy having progressed to developing a full scale prototype of their OE Buoy device following successful testing in Galway Bay. OpenHydro, based in Greenore Co. Louth recently deployed two 2MW tidal turbines in Northern France.


For further information contact:

Lisa Fitzpatrick, Marine Institute

Sinéad Coyne, Marine Institute

Editors Notes

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

SEAI has a mission to play a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is designated as the Issuing Authority for Building Energy Ratings in Ireland. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland's EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.

The Marine Institute

As the national agency for marine research, technology, development and innovation, the Marine Institute seeks to assess and realise the economic potential of Ireland's marine resource, promote sustainable development of marine industry through strategic funding programmes and essential scientific services, as well as safeguard Ireland's natural marine resource through research and environmental monitoring.

The Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site

The site at Galway Bay is Ireland's consented site for testing wave energy converters at quarter scale and has been operating for the last ten years. The Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test site is currently licensed to operate until March 2017. A public consultation has recently concluded on the Marine Institute's foreshore lease application to allow testing of a wider range of marine renewable energy devices over a 35 year period in line with the Government's Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan.

The Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site
Smart Bay Ireland

SmartBay Ireland is a not-for-profit company which was established by the Marine Institute and the third level sector to support the management of the national marine test facility in Galway Bay and to promote and develop opportunities for the test site so that researchers and industry can utilise this unique marine facility. The site provides users with a pathway towards commercialisation by providing the opportunity to test devices and sensors in a real-marine world environment.

The Sea Power device has successfully completed a third-party design verification process. Device testing and all associated activities will be conducted in compliance with SmartBay Ireland's ISO accredited Health & Safety, Environmental and Quality systems.

The installation of the moorings is expected to commence the week of October 10th with the quarter scale device being deployed the following week, weather permitting. The device measures 16.8m long x 4.5m wide. On the basis of the trial continuing successfully, the device will undergo performance testing at the site until March 2017.

You can see the evolution of the device; from tank testing, through small scale testing, to construction of the ¼ scale device in Foynes dockyard, and deployment in Foynes Dock in the following 3 minute video -

Sea Power in Foynes

                                      Sea Power in Foynes                               

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)Marine Institute logo