Exciting Time to be Involved in Tidal Energy [Interview]

21 February, 2017

Brian Mannion (NUIG), Vincent Mc Cormack (GKinetic), Paul Collins (DesignPro Ltd.) & Dr. Stephen Nash (NUIG) pictured at DesignPro Ltd. before launching the device in the Limerick Docks

Research developments, groundbreaking deployments and newly launched funding support are all examples of how tidal energy has ramped up over the last couple of years. We have witnessed first hand this progress through our own achievements by collaborating with different companies and organisations such as the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), NUI Galway, Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI), Numerics Warehouse and DesignPro ltd. to name a few.



It is fantastic to see all of the academic support available to developers. Examples include universities offering PhD programmes or initiatives that allow researchers to get involved in a project to grow their knowledge and gain industry experience.

There are also a number of competitive funding opportunities within the industry to help further develop and commercialise technology including the SEAI Prototype Development Fund, Horizon 2020 and Interreg’s FORESEA Programme.


Interview with Brian Mannion

We interviewed one of GKinetic’s very own researchers, Brian Mannion to get his perspective on the industry and why he got involved. Brian is a recent graduate in Mechanical Engineering from NUI Galway and is currently a MaREI PhD student working on the GKinetic project in NUI Galway.


Why tidal and what made you enter this particular field?


“What appealed to me about tidal and my research in particular is that it provides exposure to a large variety of engineering aspects from fluid dynamics to design, computational modelling to experimental testing. It also provided me with the opportunity to get on board with GKinetic who were at a relatively early stage with their novel device at the time, enabling me to get first-hand experience and knowledge about the key stages in device development, for which I am very grateful.”


What are you currently researching for GKinetic?


“At the moment I’m working on developing a double multiple streamtube model capable of encapsulating various aspects of the GKinetic device such as, it’s high solidity and accelerated flows. I’m also working on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) models of the GKinetic device with included blade pitch control and flow accelerator.”


In addition, Brian and his colleagues are putting together a journal paper of the experimental testing carried out on the GKinetic device at 1/40th, 1/20th and 1/10th scale. Outlined in the paper will be the approaches taken for testing the various models and the aspects of the GKinetic device compared with other similar technologies.


Brian explained what has stood out the most for him over the last couple of years:


“From a global aspect a significant milestone was the successful deployment of the SeaGen device by Marine Current Turbines, if this was a failure I feel the appetite for other device developers may not have been as strong. From an Irish perspective the support being provided from Government agencies such as SEAI and SFI is key and without their support a lot of developers wouldn’t be able to advance their device ideas.”



Although tidal energy is not yet a widely accessible technology, the industry has grown immensely and there have been huge milestone achievements. Test sites are operational and being developed all over the world as well as state of the art research facilities. There are successful deployments being internationally publicised further bringing positive attention to the huge potential of tidal. The dedication and support available within this industry is positive and motivating for all that are involved.

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