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Queen's celebrates grant windfall

Queen's University is celebrating a marine energy windfall with the award of an £850,000 grant for a research consortium.

The Marine Renewable Energy group will use the funding for work on wave and tidal energy conversion.

The group, part of the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, received the grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Professor Trevor Whittaker, the group's head, said Queen's was a world leader in marine renewable energy research.

"Our research has already resulted in the construction of Britain's first two wave power plants off the Islay on the west coast of Scotland," he said.

In a separate project, Queen's scientists are to monitor the impact of the £10m SeaGen tidal turbine on seals, porpoises, whales, and dolphins and seabird activity in Strangford Narrows.

The two-year study will assess any changes in wildlife activity as a result of the turbine.

A survey will be carried out on the seabed at critical sites adjacent to the turbine to establish the influence of changes in the water flow pattern from the presence of the turbine's blades.

Queen's scientists will also assist with the measurement of currents near the turbine.

Graham Savidge, Queen's University marine biology senior lecturer, said Strangford Narrows site was an ideal test area for a tidal energy device.

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