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Minister Bruton Announces Further Call for Energy Research & Innovation Projects

Applications open today, up to €4million to be invested this year in the future of energy in Ireland 

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D., today (Monday the 21st of January) announced the launch of the 2019 SEAI National Energy Research Development and Demonstration Funding programme, a government funded initiative which funds innovative energy research projects. 



Up to €4million is available this year to fund research projects which will help to drive Ireland's transition to a clean and secure energy future.  Successful applicants will be leading research projects on ways to decarbonize Ireland's national energy supply and will be able to demonstrate potential for promising results.



The Minister is currently developing an all of government plan to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Putting Ireland's energy use on a sustainable path is key to realising that ambition. 



Applications to the programme are open today (Monday the 21st of January) and will close on the 7th of March 2019. Applications are open to companies, universities, institutes of technology, publicly funded research institutions, public sector bodies and semi-state bodies who are based in the Republic of Ireland.



Speaking today, Minister Bruton said, "I am determined to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change. Putting Ireland's energy use on a sustainable path is key to realising that ambition. We as government, must invest in research to help drive discovery of the new technologies and solutions required for Ireland's low carbon energy transition."



Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI said, "Energy research and innovation are crucial components of Ireland's transition to a low carbon economy, and represent one of the core parts of SEAI strategy. 2018 saw development of a new multi-year funding model; strategic co-funding partnerships; a stronger role for SEAI in national energy RD&D policy development and the appointment of SEAI's Dr Phil Hemmingway as Ireland's SETPlan Steering Committee representative. 2019 will involve further refinement and expansion of our research and innovation policy support roles and programme offerings." 



SEAI have successfully developed new strategic co-funding partnerships with ESB Group, Gas Networks Ireland and the Geological Survey of Ireland as part of the 2019 call. This demonstrates the value and impact which the SEAI RD&D programme continues to generate, and represents an exemplar practice in the context of public funding of research in Ireland.



Further information is available on the SEAI RD&D Funding Programme webpage.



Notes to Editor



Eligibility Criteria:



Applications will be accepted from Companies, Research Performing Organisations (e.g. Universities, Institutes of Technology and Publically Funded Research Institutions), Public Sector Bodies and Semi-State Bodies who are based in the Republic of Ireland.



Evaluation criteria:



  1. Excellence and Innovation (40%) – track record of applicants, qualifications of applicants, quality of research, originality and degree of innovation.
  2. Relevance and Impact (30%) – relevance to the needs of Irish energy policy (NECP, NREAP, NEEAP, White Paper, National Mitigation Plan etc.), enterprise, scientific and policy impacts of project outputs, communication/dissemination plans.
  3. Quality and Efficiency of Implementation (30%) – leverage of funding, value for money, effectiveness of work plan, management arrangements etc.



SEAI



The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) works with the public, businesses, government and communities to achieve a cleaner energy future. SEAI is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.



SETPlan: The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) is a European Commission Initiative which aims to accelerate the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies. It seeks to improve new technologies and bring down costs by coordinating national research efforts and helping to finance projects.



A similar call last year awarded funds to 52 projects. A range of companies and academic institutions are leading projects in the areas of wind energy, bioenergy, energy systems integration, energy efficiency, energy markets, smart grids, transportation, energy policy, community engagement, blockchain for energy, and artificial intelligence for energy.



Sample of Projects funded in 2018



A project led by Dr Miriam Byrne in NUI Galway is among those to receive funding. Working in collaboration with researchers in University College Dublin (UCD), the NUIG team, are investigating the effectiveness of ventilation systems in A-rated energy efficient homes. Good ventilation is critical for a healthy home. The study will monitor air quality in 100 A-rated homes and assess the comfort and satisfaction of homeowners. 



The largest developer and operator of renewable generation in Ireland; SSE Airtricity working with CeADAR (Centre for Advanced Data Analytics Research) at UCD, will employ state of the art Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise renewable energy producers forecasting ability. The aim of the project is to reduce volatility in the wholesale energy market making it more cost effective for renewable energy producers to participate and ultimately lower energy prices for consumers.



Galway based biopharmaceutical company, Westway Health, have also received funding from the SEAI. Working in partnership with NUIG, Westway Health aim to develop a novel treatment for farm slurries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to generate energy. An antimicrobial agent developed by Westway Health, has already been proven safe for humans, animals and the environment. This project looks to investigate the effect of the additive on the biogas potential of treated slurry.



A project led by Codema, Dublin's Energy Agency, working in collaboration with Dublin's four Local Authorities, is among those to receive funding. The Project will see Codema evaluate and outline the Dublin Region Energy Masterplan. This project is the first of its kind in Ireland and will set out a clear, evidence-based pathway which will enable the Dublin Local Authorities to create effective, long-term energy policies in areas such as spatial planning, land use and public infrastructure. 



The Trinity Smart Grid project, led by Dr Barry Murphy, will use custom smart grid monitoring technology to collect data on the Trinity College local grid over the course of 12 months. This is one of the largest trials of this kind and will examine usage patterns and could result in energy savings of up to 5%. As well as gathering detailed information on power usage and quality over an entire year, this data will also enable the development of analysis tools to recognise usage patterns from different types of load.  The outcomes of this project will be applicable to local grids serving a wide variety of consumers, from university campuses, to industrial facilities and hospitals.



A project led by Dr Cian Desmond, of the MaREI Centre at University College Cork (UCC), is among those to receive funding. In this project an online platform will be developed which will empower rural communities to identify the optimum renewable energy solution for their community, decide how risk and revenue will be shared and raise finance at key project stages through crowd funding. The tools developed in this project will facilitate a bottom up approach to community renewable energy development which will maximise both social acceptability and community benefit.



Partnering with Tipperary Energy Agency, lead researcher Seamus Hoyne, Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), will assess the performance of heat pumps in 75 domestic buildings. The aim of the study is to allow a comparison between 'predicted' and 'actual' in-use performance of heat pumps. 




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