£850,000 marine power windfall for Queen's University


Queen’s University is celebrating a marine energy windfall with the award of an £850,000 grant for an energy research consortium.

The Marine Renewable Energy Group in the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s received the grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The group’s work will support the emerging industry in wave and tidal stream energy conversion. The industry is developing marine renewables which will reduce dependency on fossil fuels and help combat the carbon emissions which contribute to climate change.

Professor Trevor Whittaker, Head of the Marine Renewable Energy Research Group, said - “Queen’s is one of the world’s leaders in marine renewable energy. Our pioneering research has already resulted in the construction of Britain’s first two wave power plants off the Isle of Islay on the West coast of Scotland. A third type of system - Oyster - is to be launched this year off Orkney.

"This award recognises the contribution which has been made by Queen’s during the past 30 years and will help to support the research team as it develops new technologies both in wave and tidal stream. This track record and the new laboratory facilities enables Queen’s to successfully compete for research contracts internationally.”

In a separate project, Queen’s marine laboratory scientists will also carry out monitoring of seals, porpoises (whales, dolphins) and seabird activity in Strangford Narrows, in the vicinity of the £10 million tidal turbine recently installed in Strangford Lough by Marine Current Turbines (Click Here). With the turbine generating sustainable electricity for 1000 homes, the two-year study will assess any changes in the activity of animals in these three groups as a result of its deployment.

A survey of animals will be carried out on the seabed at critical sites adjacent to the turbine, to establish the influence of changes in the water flow pattern from the presence of the turbine’s blades. Queen’s scientists will also assist with the measurement of currents in the vicinity of the turbine and carry out a survey of local opinion on the deployment of the tidal turbine.

Graham Savidge, Queen’s University Marine Biology Senior Lecturer, welcomed the survey and the arrival of the new turbine, saying - “This shows the value of the Strangford Narrows site as a test area for such a device.”

Further information on the wave power projects can be found at the web sites of the industrial partners -