Universities to work on eco-friendly tidal lagoon designs

A new €4 million Ecostructure project has been launched to investigate how coastal defenses and renewable energy schemes in Ireland and Wales can be improved by more eco-friendly designs.

The Ecostructure project will seek to develop and trial new methods to enhance the ecological value of coastal structures, including sea-walls and tidal lagoons, through more ecologically-sensitive design.

The project, which received €3.25 million of ERDF funding from the EU’s Ireland Wales Cooperation program, will be led by Aberystwyth University, in collaboration with University College Dublin, Bangor University, University College Cork and Swansea University.

Joe Ironside, from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, said: “In response to increased storminess and rising sea levels, as well as the need for sustainable renewable energy generation, hard coastal infrastructure is likely to increase along Irish Sea coastlines.

“These artificial structures tend to provide poor habitats for wildlife, but the eco-engineering we’ll be trialing through this project has huge potential for improving coastal infrastructure and better protecting ecosystems and marine life.”

The project team will work closely with key stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sectors on both sides of the Irish Sea to promote the building of ecologically sensitive design into coastal structures, Aberystwyth University informed.