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MaRINET: call for applications

UK groups set to benefit from €9m EU marine renewables fund

‘MaRINET’ initiative opens access to marine testing sites across Europe

The UK marine renewable energy sector is set to benefit from a new €9m EU-funded initiative to provide access to test facilities in specialist marine renewable energy centres across Europe. ‘MaRINET’ (Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network) offers periods of marine renewable energy testing at these centres at no cost to participants through funding from the European Commission. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Ltd, The National Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) Ltd, The University of Exeter, The University of Strathclyde, The University of Edinburgh, The Queen’s University of Belfast and The University of Plymouth are key partners in this initiative.

MaRINET supports testing of concepts and devices in areas such as wave energy, tidal energy, offshore-wind energy and the environment, to accelerate Europe-wide development of marine renewable energy. The funding seeks to remove financial barriers for the first time by enabling companies and research groups to access unique world-class European testing facilities outside their own country, which is generally not covered under national grant schemes.

The initiative, with at least four calls for applications, runs until 2015 and the first call for applications is now open. Potential users, who must work in Europe or a country associated to the European FP7 programme, are invited to apply to access this first call.

The network consists of 42 testing facilities at 28 research centres in 12 countries. By linking these marine renewable energy testing facilities and using an agreed testing framework, this initiative now provides a clear path to commercialisation by allowing users to seamlessly progress their device through each phase of testing. All participating centres will use common standards, conduct research to improve their own testing capability and provide training to enhance expertise in the field.

The following UK facilities are participating in this project: EMEC is offering its wave and tidal scale testing facilities in Orkney; NaREC is offering its Marine Test Site, CPTC Energy Link Lab and Nautilus Rotary Test Rig; The University of Exeter is offering the South West Mooring Test Facility; The University of Strathclyde is offering its Acre Road Tow and Wave Tank Facility; The University of Edinburgh are offering their Curved Tank; The University of Plymouth are offering their HF Radar environmental monitoring facility; and Queens University Belfast is offering access to the Portaferry Tidal Test Centre and Shallow Water Wave Tank.

A significant number of European companies and research groups are expected to apply to use these facilities.

Project Coordinator, Professor Tony Lewis of University College Cork, called on UK companies and research groups to apply for funding to access European facilities through MaRINET:

‘‘MaRINET offers a unique opportunity to access these world-class European test facilities in order to validate and progress concepts at any stage of development, and to ultimately harness the untapped renewable energy resources that are abundant around the European coastline. This is a great opportunity to advance marine renewable research testing and commercial development for both UK and European companies and research groups’’.

Jennifer Norris, Research Director of EMEC said:

“A number of international developers are already testing their devices here at EMEC, and we welcome applications from researchers and developers from across Europe who wish to make use of our world-leading facilities. The MaRINET project is a great vehicle to encourage transnational knowledge sharing through coordinated R&D, and this funding will further drive the development of the marine renewables industry closer to commercial success.”

Dr Lars Johanning of the University of Exeter said:

“This announcement is great news for the University of Exeter and for the South West region as a whole. Our South West Mooring Test Facility is already enabling academic researchers and the offshore renewable energy industry to work together to advance emerging technologies. This new initiative will make the facility available to researchers from across Europe and will help ensure the South West of England remains at the forefront of this exciting and important industry.”

Interested groups should complete the online application form on the MaRINET website. The closing date for applications is 29 February 2012.








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