Marine renewable energy systems – wave energy and tidal-stream converters as well as offshore-wind turbines for electricity generation – are mostly at the pre-commercial stage of development. These systems require research and testing to be undertaken at a series of scales and specialised facilities along the path to commercialisation. MARINET (Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network) is an EC-funded infrastructure initiative comprising a network of research centres and organisations that are working together to accelerate the development and commercial deployment of these technologies. The initiative aims to streamline and facilitate testing by offering periods of free-of-charge access to world-class test facilities and by developing joint approaches to testing standards, research and industry networking & training.
The €11m network initiative is majority-funded through the EC's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and runs for four years until 2015. The network of 29 partners with 45 specialist marine research facilities is spread across 11 EU countries and 1 FP7 partner-country, Brazil.
Companies and research groups can avail of periods of free-of-charge access to cross-border facilities (“Transnational Access” - TA) to test devices at any scale in areas such as wave energy, tidal energy, offshore-wind energy and environmental data or to conduct tests in cross-cutting common areas such as power take-off systems, grid integration, materials or moorings. In total, over 700 weeks of access is available to an estimated 300 projects and 800 external users, with at least four calls for access applications over the 4-year initiative.
In parallel to offering free-of-charge access, MARINET partners are working together to:
- implement common standards for testing across the network in order to streamline the development process,
- conduct coordinated research to improve testing capabilities across the network,
- facilitate industry networking & training in the form of user workshops, staff exchange and free-of-charge training courses in order to provide opportunities for collaboration, joint ventures and expertise development.
Professor Ian Bryden