The Marine Institute (MI) is the State agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland.
We provide scientific and technical advice to Government to help inform policy and to support the sustainable development of Ireland’s marine resource.
Since the 1990’s the MI has played a key role in supporting the development of the Irish Ocean Energy industry. Ireland possesses one of the richest offshore wind and wave energy climates in the world and, given our proximity to European markets, this provides exceptional development opportunities. The MI’s vision is to see “A thriving maritime economy in harmony with the ecosystem…”. We aim to work proactively with stakeholders to maximise the economic potential of Ireland's marine resource and its sustainable development.
The MI has a strategic partnership with the Ocean Energy Development Unit in Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland, working closely with it to deliver on an agreed annual programme of activities to support the implementation of the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan.
The MI’s primary roles in support of the Renewable Ocean Energy sector is to:
- Provide marine R&D technical services and scientific advice to Government, industry, researchers and other stakeholders;
- Provide access to research infrastructure and to marine data;
- Catalyse national and international research programmes;
- Coordinate and fund marine research activities.
The MI’s programmes provide ongoing support to the Ocean Energy industry and research community include seabed mapping, provision of marine data, advanced marine technologies, operational and technical support, test facilities and environmental monitoring. These programmes are of value to developers interested in undertaking early site investigation and monitoring work; research activities, technology development and testing; and practical advice for deployment and operation of Wave Energy Convertor (WEC) prototypes.
Operational and Technical Support
The Marine Institute (MI) provides comprehensive oceanographic services, such as the deployment and operation of oceanographic and weather instrumentation. As part of the National Ocean Energy Programme, the MI has implemented an oceanographic monitoring programme at the national wave energy test sites. We provide practical support to the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI) on a range of marine renewable energy research activities.
The Oceanographic Services Team in the MI provides modelling support to the Ocean Energy Industry. They run and validate the following models and have expertise in running High Resolution Local Models (e.g. Wave, surface currents and sediment transport). The Hydrodynamic and Wave Predictive Models are available on-line.
The MI operate two purpose built research vessels and a deep-water Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The 65m long RV Celtic Explorer is a highly sophisticated low-noise multipurpose research vessel designed for undertaking a wide array of offshore and deep-sea survey operations. The RV Celtic Voyager is a 31.4m multi-purpose vessel suited to coastal research and offshore survey operations. The Institute operate a National Vessel Access Programme to facilitate researchers and industry to use the vessels for research activities.
The Marine Institute can provide the Ocean Energy Industry with access to a range of datasets that may be required for marine resource assessment, site selection, foreshore licence applications or EIA. Data includes:
- Observations: wave, current, sea level, sea temperature, salinity
- Predictive model outputs: wind, wave, temperature, salinity
Wave Energy using the Pelamis Wave Model for the Irish Wave Atlas
- Average power flux and energy/hr
- Average wave height
Marine Environment Monitoring
Quick and easy access to online data and information services via Marine Data Online.
Search and discover national marine data via the Irish Spatial Data Exchange.
Access online marine spatial data via Ireland's Marine Atlas reporting requirements for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Request offline marine renewable energy related data and information via the online Data Request Service.
The Marine Institute’s National Marine Technology Programme facilitates a range of research and development activities in the area of sensor development, data management and information systems. This programme aims to broker national and international relationships between technology developers in industry and academic centres of excellence for application driven technology development in marine ICT.
A key initiative of the Advanced Technology Programme is the SmartOcean (ICT for the Sea) Strategy. The strategy seeks to harness Ireland’s natural marine resources and specialist expertise in Marine Science and ICT to establish Ireland as a leader in the development of high value products and services for the global marine sector. This includes the delivery of next generation technology products and services for marine sectors including aquaculture, environmental monitoring, shipping and security and marine renewable energy.
There are currently over 50 indigenous and multinational companies based in Ireland engaged in the development and provision of High Tech Marine products and services. These include the provision of remote sensing systems, data management and visualisation tools, modelling, simulation, forecasting and engineering design supporting operational management. A number of companies have also developed products and services based on patented research from National Centres of Research Excellence. This is an exciting and new niche opportunity for Ireland building on the strengths of our successful ICT cluster.
The Marine Institute provides essential scientific advice and a range of marine environmental monitoring services to assess levels of contaminants in the marine environment and to help ensure the health of our seas. As the marine renewables Industry develops, there will be strict requirements to maintain good environmental standards.
The Institute has unique expertise that is essential for undertaking Strategic Environmental Assessments. As part of the Offshore Renewable Energy SEA, the Institute developed a geodatabase. The data themes include fisheries biology, seabed mapping, aquaculture, protected areas, maritime limits, wind and wave atlas, renewables, test sites, navigation, tourism and leisure, marine infrastructures, dump sites, bathymetry, PAD & oil/gas datasets. This spatial data will be beneficial to companies assessing potential ocean energy sites.
The Marine Institute advises the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in relation to the environmental impacts that may arise from proposed developments and recommend appropriate conditions in the event of approval, including all foreshore energy-related developments.
The development of the Ocean Energy sector will compete for space with other users of the seas. To manage potential conflicts, EU member states are implementing Marine Spatial Planning Frameworks. The aim of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is to achieve ecologically diverse seas that are clean, healthy and productive and human use of the marine environment will be maintained within sustainable levels by 2020. The preparation work for implementation of the MSFD is currently on-going. The Marine Institute is part of the national implementation group.