Researchers from Trinity College Dublin are leading a new €3.4m EU-backed project to improve the long-term sustainability of the water supply in Ireland and Wales. The Dŵr Uisce project, which partners Trinity with Bangor University, aims to improve the energy efficiency of water distribution by developing new low carbon energy-saving technology, including micro-hydropower turbines.
The technology will be trialled in both nations before being launched on the commercial market, while the project also aims to build the capacity for innovation in the water industry by investigating how new practices can meet the challenges faced in Ireland and Wales due to environmental and climate change.
The five-year, multidisciplinary project has secured funds through the EU’s Ireland-Wales co-operation programme. It will be led by Dr Aonghus McNabola and Professor Biswajit Basu from Trinity’s School of Engineering, and Professor Paul Coughlan from the Trinity Business School.
Dr Aonghus McNabola said: “The water industry in Ireland and Wales is the fourth most energy intensive sector in both countries and contributes heavily to carbon emissions. The Dŵr Uisce project will make significant advances in improving energy efficiency in this sector and so will have important environmental and economic impacts on the region. The research team is very excited to have received this funding and are looking forward to working on this project in the coming years.”
The Dŵr Uisce project is the first to be funded under the new Ireland-Wales programme. It will specifically benefit people and communities within the south-east region of Ireland and the north and west of Wales, through potential reductions in the cost of water supply for end-users. Dŵr and Uisce are the Welsh and Irish words for ‘water.’
Dr Prysor Williams, from Bangor University, said: “The work within the Dŵr Uisce project will help achieve those environmental and economic ‘win–wins’ that are so important for Wales to meet its ambitious targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Securing this EU funding is excellent news, and we are looking forward to bringing our expertise to a project that will have significant benefits for Welsh industries, consumers, and the wider environment.”
The funding was announced by Welsh Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt, who said: “The Ireland Wales programme is a unique partnership between both our nations that provides an excellent platform to do business and address common challenges and opportunities which cut across our sea border.
“The programme is also another valuable source of EU investment, and I’m delighted that £2.7m funds will enable Trinity College Dublin and Bangor University to take forward a project with such important potential for our water industry.”