A new project entitled Aeolus, run jointly between the Irish Naval Service, UCC, CIT, and the University of Limerick is testing innovative kite technology designed to harness food and energy resources of the sea.
Massive kites are hoisted high above naval vessels at sea, resulting in enhanced ship propulsion, increased energy generation and significantly improved surveillance capability 15 times over the normal range. The innovative technology will enable Irish Naval vessels patrol a vast sea area without the need to cruise long distances, resulting in major fuel savings, manpower costs and emissions. The enormous power generating kites (measuring 20m2), using state-of-the-art smart sensor technology, offer a sustainable solution to ship journeys by not only assisting speed, but also providing greatly improved visibility to aid navigation and security.
Other applications being developed include environmental monitoring, maritime forecasting and data transmission from ocean energy devices. The project management is being led by the Defence Forces, with the software development taking place at the Nimbus Centre at CIT. “This exciting project aligns with European energy goals as well as our policy of innovation with social responsibility,’ said Richard Linger, head of the Nimbus Centre’s industry division. Partners include the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, the Tyndall National Institute, and University of Limerick. The next stage of the project will see it move towards commercialisation of the product.
With increasing global awareness of the importance of the Earth’s oceans as potential sources of energy security and environmental sustainability, many countries and international organisations are actively engaging in ambitious programmes to ensure resources like fisheries are more efficiently managed and protected. This renewed focus has led to the development of a growing international market for maritime monitoring technologies and solutions. “This collaboration highlights the Defence Forces’ commitment to supporting Irish industry and education. Working through innovative arrangements such as the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster with UCC and CIT, we are delighted that the skills and expertise acquired by our personnel, together with their creativity and innovation, are being used to develop new sustainable technologies and promote Irish ingenuity.” said Rear Admiral Mark Mellett, deputy chief of staff of the Defence Forces.
Funding was granted through the Sustainable Energy Authority, whose CEO, Brian Motherway, said: “This groundbreaking collaboration combines our strength in clean energy and advanced technology to create something truly unique. It is a very exciting showcase for Ireland.”
Source: The Irish Examiner, September 2015