His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales today has seen world leading marine current and tidal stream technology at work during a visit to Queen’s University Belfast Marine Research Facility in Portaferry.
HRH was greeted by Mr David Lindsay the Lord-Lieutenant for County Down and went on to meet Mrs Arlene Foster MLA Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Mr Martin Wright Managing Director Marine Current Turbines (MCT), and Professor Peter Gregson DL President and Vice-Chancellor Queen’s University Belfast.
The Queen’s facility provides an operating and monitoring base for MCT and offers research assistance to the Bristol based company in its operation of a SeaGen twin turbine tidal generator.
The turbine was assembled at Harland and Wolff in Belfast and was taken by barge to its present site located a few hundred metres off shore. The twin turbine monopod generator has become a familiar land mark in the narrows of the Lough which is the only Marine Nature Reserve in Northern Ireland.
The generator harnesses energy from the predictable tidal changes and when fully developed it will be capable of generating enough clean electricity for around 1,000 homes.
Inside the Research facility His Royal Highness attended a short presentation on the project and had the opportunity to view models of the construction.
With the background to the project discussed, His Royal Highness then accepted an invitation from Mr Wright to sail out the short distance to the turbine to experience the project in its operational environment.
Back on land again, The Prince of Wales met Professor Trevor Whittaker Professor of Coastal Engineering at Queen’s to discuss the University’s latest work on wave power. HRH also had the opportunity to meet senior staff, young researchers and students from Queen’s who are involved in the project.
In the concluding part of the engagement The Prince of Wales joined Mrs Foster MLA and other guests for a discussion on ‘Promoting Renewables’.