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ESB UL partnership agreement to support world-leading research for a clean energy future

Attending the announcement of the ESB UL Partnership were Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive, ESB, Professor Kerstin Mey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement, Prof Edmond Magner, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering and Professor Luuk van der Wielen, Director of the Bernal Institute, UL. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

ESB UL partnership agreement to support world-leading research for a clean energy future

ESB today announced a new ESB UL partnership with the University of Limerick to support the brightest energy researchers in the University over the next four years.




The ESB UL partnership was announced this morning at the unveiling of a new art installation which is created around the runner of an original Francis Turbine from Ardnacrusha Power Station. It generated clean electricity continuously for 66 years, before being decommissioned and replaced in 1995 and donated by ESB to UL in 2010.

The installation is located in the courtyard of the Bernal Institute at UL,  where over 260 world-leading researchers in the fields of Science and Engineering are based, including three PhD students, Cian Murphy, Hamid Hafizi and Indraneel Roy Chowdhury, whose energy-related research will receive funding from ESB through the new partnership.

“I was a curious child, always asking ‘why’ and wondering about the world we inhabit, and it was that curiosity that led me to science,” said Cian Murphy, speaking at today’s launch of the ESB UL partnership.

“My research focuses on the use of smart materials in composite structures and my vision is that one day we will all be generating our own clean electricity, just by walking down the street. I’m excited that my curiosity might now lead to a real benefit to our society, and this funding support from ESB will greatly assist me in this goal.”

ESB UL Partnership

Attending the event were Professor Kerstin Mey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement, Prof Edmond Magner, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering, Marian Hurley, Deputy Mayor of Limerick and Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive, ESB. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22.

In addition to the ESB UL partnership, ESB will be an industry partner to Science Foundation Ireland-funded projects with the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy at UL, with a particular focus on real-time remote monitoring of substations and the remote operation of drones for inspection of transmission lines and wind turbines. (further details below). 

ESB will also fund an annual visiting lecture which will bring international experts to UL to share insights and the latest international thinking on research to tackle climate change.

Speaking at the announcement, Dr Desmond Fitzgerald, President of UL, said: “Ireland’s energy challenges are current. In UL we are involved in a race against time to develop novel, more sustainable, more efficient means of energy generation and use. The fact that ESB is supporting three PhD student scholarships in energy and sustainable development is a testament to the urgency of this research. It is also a vote of confidence in UL, particularly our people in the world-class Bernal Institute who are well placed to lead in this field.”

Pat O’Doherty, Chief Executive of ESB, added: “The Turbine Installation at the University of Limerick is a fitting reminder of the important role played by the Shannon Scheme in triggering major social and economic change in Ireland.  One of the most visionary projects of the last century, it helped to change a way of life that had existed for generations.  We at ESB continue to see electricity as a force for positive change, particularly in the context of tackling climate change. We are delighted to partner with UL to fund research that will help to make energy more sustainable, more efficient and ultimately provide customers with a better alternative to power all aspects of their lives.

“The transition to a low carbon future will require creative and innovative solutions, and the work currently being carried out in the Bernal Institute at UL will support this.”

ESB is leading the transition to a low carbon future by investing in low carbon and renewable generation, pioneering smart grid technologies to connect intermittent renewable generation with technology-enabled customers and by supporting the electrification of heating and transport as a way of reducing Ireland’s dependence on carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

For more information on the ESB, go here.

For more stories on the University of Limerick, go here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.