Smart technology, developed by Irish Defence Forces, SEAI, IMERC, Enterprise Ireland and CIT, to enhance ship efficiency and communications
Innovative kite technology which can use smart sensors developed by the Irish Defence Forces and partners, was demonstrated today to Mr Alex White TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources at SeaFest in Cork. The enormous power generating kites (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.
The project is supported by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and Enterprise Ireland, through its Commercialisation Fund Programme. The ICT solution will assist the Irish Naval Service as the sensors are hoisted on large kites 300 metres above naval vessels, enhancing ship propulsion, generating energy and dramatically improving the surveillance range by up to 15 times. This will allow a vessel patrol a vast sea area without the necessity to cruise long distances, saving on fuel, manpower costs and emissions. Other applications for the technology exist in environmental monitoring, maritime forecasting and data transmission from ocean energy devices.
Partners in the project include the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster (IMERC), Cork Institute of Technology (Nimbus and Halpin Centres), the Tyndall National Institute and University of Limerick.
Speaking at the demonstration of the technology at Seafest, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D. said: “We have a strong ocean heritage in Ireland and it is good to see collaborations like this, which are enabling the development of new advanced ICT systems. This kite technology brings efficiencies to shipping transport and enables us to develop better intelligence about our oceans and new ocean energy technologies being deployed at sea. It is a good example of how Ireland is leading in maritime innovation.”
Rear Admiral Mark Mellett, Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) of the Defence Forces, also in attendance to see the demonstration said: “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.”
Funding for the project was granted through SEAI’s Prototype Development Fund, whose Chief Executive, Dr. Brian Motherway, said: “This ground breaking collaboration combines our strength in clean energy and advanced technology to create something truly unique. It is a very exciting showcase for Ireland.”
The project management is being led by the Defence Forces, with the hardware integration and software development taking place at the Nimbus Centre at CIT. Commenting, Richard Linger, Head of the Nimbus Centre’s Industry division said: ‘We are delighted to be working with the wide range of partners on this exciting project which aligns with European energy goals as well as our policy of Innovation with social responsibility.’
Read about the project in the Irish Times.
The next stage of the project will see a move towards commercialisation of the product.