PRIMaRE sets research priorities for marine renewables

The Partnership for Research in Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) has released its research priorities document aimed at accelerating the progress of marine renewable energy technologies.

PRIMaRE together with the South West Marine Energy Park (SW MEP) has put together a consortium of marine experts from across higher education, research and industry which has identified the research priorities and development needs required to speed up the progress of marine renewable energy technologies.

PRIMaRE has stated it will focus its collaborative work on three strategic areas, covering technical research, interdisciplinary research, and environmental priorities.

Technical research covers a multitude of different topics, from the need to develop better materials that are resistant to corrosion and biofouling and components that offer greater reliability, to better understanding the stress placed upon devices when they are deployed and subjected to a wide range of conditions, many of them extreme. It also looks at issues of efficiency, cost and safety.

The second priority, interdisciplinary research, includes areas such as planning and governance of the seas and coastal regions, and the impacts and implications of marine energy technology for both the environment and the wider socioeconomic landscape.

Under environment research, the consortium will look at areas such as the impact of marine renewable technologies upon the seabed and other structures, and upon marine life, whether through risks of entanglements and entrapment, the transportation of invasive species, or providing new habitats, such as an ‘artificial reef’.

“Marine renewable energy has tremendous potential, but there are some significant challenges that need to be tackled if it is to meet its commercialisation targets. By setting out our research priorities, we are issuing a call to action, not just to our own researchers within the PRIMaRE group, but to the wider sector nationally,” said Deborah Greaves, Professor of Ocean Engineering, and former chair of PRIMaRE at Plymouth University.

PRIMaRE is managed through a steering committee consisting of the Universities of Plymouth, Exeter, Southampton, Bristol and Bath, along with the Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the South West Marine Energy Park, and Wave Hub.