What makes the Limerick Docks an excellent location for marine technology testing?
26 June, 2017
Overhead view of the Limerick Docks
Attracting an international audience, in October, 2015, we successfully deployed and demonstrated a 10kW device in the Limerick Docks. GKinetic setup this custom purpose test facility by collaborating with Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), who own and operate the docks.
In this blog, we are going to look at the Limerick Docks as a potential Test Facility by explaining the benefits of testing there and how this can help contribute to the efficient development of marine technology.
Limerick wet dock facility
The Limerick Docks is located on the banks of the River of Shannon in Limerick City, Ireland. While this facility manages a number of operations for the abundance of activity on the Shannon Estuary, there is a significant opportunity for technology developers to ‘get metal wet here’. The wet dock facility is an enclosed freshwater basin with controlled water levels. The water level is maintained at a minimum of 5 meters. This controlled environment available at the Limerick Docks can help minimise risk and better prepare and develop both your technology and team for open water testing.
Why should developers test here?
- Easily accessible by road or water
- Secure location
- Available Power supply for data logging or equipment
- Controlled water levels
- Sheltered area
- 438 meter tow area
- No underwater hazards
- Range of lifting equipment and trained personnel available through SFPC
“This is a major milestone in the development of our technology” – Vincent Mc Cormack, GKinetic Managing Director
Scale up one step at a time
There are many state of the art research facilities that offer tank testing and deployments in large rivers and ocean environments. Taking marine technology from the tank to open water conditions is an impressive progression for any developer, however it is a huge step both financially and technically. The Limerick Docks offers a step in between the tank and open water. Based on our own experience, we were able to practice and test the deployment and removal of the turbine, moorings, blade pitch control and wireless communication systems in an operational environment.
Overall, the GKinetic Team including SEAI, MaREI, DesignPro, Numerics Warehouse, NUI Galway, SFPC and Wind Works had a very valuable learning experience from our tow-tests at the Limerick Docks. This has been beneficial in optimising and scaling up our technology.
From our point of view, this is a great location and setup for testing. We believe that there is a need for such a facility within Europe. We are open to collaborating with other technology developers, organisations or businesses on developing the Limerick Docks as a permanent test facility.
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