The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland have announced that it has awarded 49 new projects €19.8 million in Government funding, supporting and enabling a wide range of energy research in Ireland. The projects bring together leading academic institutes, industry partners, and not-for-profits to tackle key areas in our national efforts to transition to a low carbon society. There was a significant increase in national demand for energy research funding in 2021 with 56% more applications compared to the most recent call in 2019, proving it an extremely competitive Call.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD said, “developing solutions that will deliver cleaner energy for our homes, businesses and communities, this highly competitive National Energy Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) funding call is leading the energy transition in Ireland. With such diverse areas as green hydrogen, robotics for wind farm maintenance, biofuels and technologies for increasing energy efficiency in buildings, this investment sees Ireland’s researchers take exciting steps forward in our national efforts to meet our binding climate targets.”
The results and outcomes from these research projects will reinforce and widen access to data, expertise, and research resources for policymakers to support sustainable energy policies based on cutting edge science. This programme attracts a range of academic and non-academic applicants, working collaboratively and independently. It helps foster knowledge and innovation into industry know-how and academic practices.
The 2021 SEAI National Energy Research, Development & Demonstration (RDD) Call also involves co-funding partnerships with the Department of Transport and Geological Survey Ireland.
Speaking on the announcement, Margie McCarthy, Director of Research and Policy Insight at SEAI said,“we cannot solve tomorrow’s problems with today’s thinking. Ireland’s energy system is currently being transformed with exciting opportunities to harness a range of safe, secure and sustainable sources that can create a clean energy mix. However, we are not there yet.“
“Research into a range of sustainable energy technologies and resources, from data gathering to pilot studies is critical to ensuring Ireland is at the international forefront of this fast-paced transition and can support emerging Irish enterprises. This funding will accelerate the development and deployment of competitive energy-related products, processes, and systems in the Irish marketplace. Emerging energy markets are facing new technical and social barriers, and this funding is critical to supporting innovative solutions.”
Inclusive Sustainable Cycling (ISCycle): Inclusive E-bike uptake and sustainable use
By specifically targeting behaviour change interventions based on e-bike loans and ownership on the University of Limerick campus, this project aims to elicit a modal-shift away from the private car. Co-funded by the Department of Transport, the funding will be used to provide approximately 50 e-bikes and perform leading edge behavioural research over a two-year period. This research addresses three current issues: the impacts of e-mobility, the gender gap in active travel, and the impacts of increased e-bike usage on the environment. The funding support for this project is €642,718 with an equal contribution from SEAI and the Department of Transport.
Building evaluations for indoor air quality and comfort in the non-residential sector following energy efficient improvement (BENEFIT)
The BENEFIT project will assess indoor air quality and occupant comfort following energy upgrades in non-domestic buildings in Ireland to develop solutions and recommendations for ventilation guidelines. Research undertaken in schools will also measure radon exposure levels. This project is being undertaken by the National University of Galway (NUIG) over a 2-year period with SEAI funding of €635,000.
A comprehensive decision support tool for end-of-life wind turbines of Ireland; lifetime extension, decommissioning, repowering, repurposing [WindLEDeRR]
As wind turbines are normally designed for a 20-year lifespan, there will be a significant number of onshore wind turbines reaching their end-of-life in Ireland in the coming years (estimated 500 turbines by 2025 and 1,000 by 2030). The WindLEDeRR project will develop a comprehensive decision-making tool for end-of-life wind turbines in Ireland, examining lifetime extension, anomaly detection, fatigue assessment, repurposing and sustainable decommissioning.
This project will run over a 3-year period and is led by University College Dublin (UCD) in partnership with Trinity College Dublin (TCD), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), University College Cork (UCC), Munster Technological University (MTU) and Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions (GDG). SEAI is providing funding of €628,265 for this project.