MARINET (Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network) is a new initiative which aims to accelerate the development of marine renewable energy technology by bringing together a network of specialist marine research facilities in various countries to offer periods of marine renewable energy testing at no cost to applicants through European Commission funding.

Applicants can avail of a range of infrastructures to test devices at any scale in areas such as wave energy, tidal energy and offshore-wind energy or to conduct general tests on power take-off systems, grid integration, moorings and environmental data.  As well as offering funded test facility access, the MARINET initiative will also implement common standards for testing, conduct research to improve testing capabilities and provide training at various facilities in the network in order to enhance expertise in the industry.

European marine renewable energy test centres have formed this network in order to streamline the testing process.  By coordinating their unique capabilities and services, MARINET essentially provides a one-stop-shop for marine renewable energy research and testing of devices and concepts in Europe and farther afield.  The aim is to advance marine renewables R&D at all scales - from small models and laboratory tests through to prototype scales and open sea tests.  Applicants can use different facilities to suit different stages and scales of the technology’s development – results and techniques used at one facility will be recognised by the next facility.  MARINET brings together a network of personnel in the offshore marine renewable energy sector with expertise at all scales of marine technology research and development.

The EC funding seeks to remove financial barriers for companies and research groups who may not qualify for national grant aid for tests taking place outside their home state - it is generally necessary to test outside the home state at some stage(s) of the development process in order to access unique facilities which do not exist in the home state.  Access is available to 42 facilities from 28 network partners spread across 11 EU countries and 1 International Cooperation Partner Country (Brazil).  Access is open to research groups and companies of any size who wish to avail of these facilities.  The two main conditions are that the majority of the applicant group must work in Europe or a country associated to the European FP7 programme, and the proposed facility must be outside the applicant’s home state.

In total, over 700 weeks of access is available to an estimated 300 projects and 800 external users.  The initiative runs for four years until 2015, with at least four calls for access applications.  The First Call is now open to apply for on-site access to facilities between May and December 2012.  The deadline is 29th February 2012. 

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29 de febreiro de 2012
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