Our report provided Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) with an appraisal of marine energy test sites in the UK and Ireland. This appraisal was used to provide some clear scenarios and recommendations for the potential future of QUB’s facilities at Strangford Lough and the marine energy sector in Northern Ireland. The report informed the strategic direction for the facility.

Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities, providing world-class education and research. It has access to tidal test sites at Strangford Lough, a large sea lough in County Down, with flow fields relevant to the tidal energy industry. The first at scale grid connected tidal device was deployed at Strangford Lough.

Devices can be tested in high current flows and benign wave conditions, which are considered ideal for tidal testing. The field office is situated in Portaferry, with all facilities required for device testing, including an underwater cable leading from the mooring to the office for device power supply and data acquisition.

In addition to this facility, QUB can support sea testing for wave energy devices at Marlfield Bay and tank testing at two different wave tanks: the Portaferry shallow water wave basin and the Belfast wave tank.

The team at QUB need to consider the next steps for their facilities. This study helped them decide how to position themselves.

BVGA worked alongside Sian George to support QUB and its hosted Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) with a study on the future use of Strangford Lough. The study was funded by CASE. We initially assessed competing marine energy test facilities across the UK and Republic of Ireland to determine what their capabilities are and how they compare to each other and, importantly, to QUB. We then undertook a series of industrial engagements with potential future clients from the marine energy sector to determine what their expectations are and what might influence their decision to test at QUB or elsewhere. Finally, we brought together this data to propose different options for the future positioning of QUB’s marine energy test facilities.

“BVGA provided robust and practical guidance based on their thorough knowledge and extensive industry engagement. As well as providing great advice, they demonstrated organisation in bringing everything together to deliver a insightful and useful report.”

Sam McCloskey Director, Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy.