A UNIQUE vessel which could generate power of up to 25 kilowatts an hour is currently being tested at Limerick Docks.
Four years in the making, local businessman Vincent McCormack founded Gkinetic energy to pursue the development of the device, which is being part funded by the Security Energy Authority of Ireland.
The vessel – which has been floating on the Docks for the last fortnight – could generate enough power to give water-based businesses an attractive alternative to wind turbines.
Already, one of the people behind it, Vincent’s daughter Roisin McCormack, says there has been interest from fish farms.
She said the vessel does not rely on a “head of water” to produce energy.
“What is innovative about this is the design of it. It has a ‘bluff body’. The water hits that first and it naturally accelerates the water around it,” she explains.
Limerick Docks, Roisin adds, is perfect to test the device in.
“We wanted to keep the project local so Vincent identified the docks as the perfect place to do it. That area in there, from one corner down to the other is a 450m tow-test. It is ideal, as it is controlled. So even if weather conditions get really bad, water conditions will always be quite stable.”
Gkinetic is currently at testing stage, but it is hoped that it will service businesses in future.
A year in production, the vessel will be able to generate up to 25 kilowatts per hour.
To put this in context, just one hour of operation is enough to power a single lightbulb for more than 26 days.
The area where the tests are taking place is restricted, but Roisin says they really want to engage with local community groups to give them an understanding of what they are doing.
The device will be floating on the river between now and Christmas.
If you are interested in coming down to take a look, contact 069-67150, or email email@example.com.