Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Mr Sean Sherlock TD recently announced that TechWorks Marine, an Irish SME based in Dun Laoghaire, has secured a contract to lead a European Space Agency (ESA) research project on monitoring coastal outlets.
This is the first time an ESA Earth Observation project has been led by an Irish group and is the culmination of four years’ work by TechWorks Marine. The project was secured with support from Enterprise Ireland which is the co-ordinating body for the ESA in Ireland.
Welcoming the announcement, Seán Sherlock T.D., Minister for Research & Innovation said:
“Driving increased research and innovation in Irish companies is an absolute priority for this Government. The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 puts innovation and technology at the heart of enterprise and jobs policies and working with the European Space Agency is an integral part of driving innovation and research in Ireland.”
“TechWorks Marine is a highly innovative company and their commitment to developing new environmental monitoring techniques is impressive. This is a significant win for TechWorks Marine and clearly indicates that Irish SME’s have the capability and expertise to lead projects in this highly competitive sector.”
TechWorks Marine specialises in the development of real-time marine data platforms. These are used by Governments and businesses to manage the oceans surrounding their countries and business operations.
This new ESA project involves TechWorks Marine developing a set of satellite earth observation products* for developers and operators of waste water treatment plants and desalination plants to help ensure that environmental impacts are kept at a minimum. This new ESA project is specifically working on the coastal effect of waste water treatment plants in Ireland, notably in Donegal Bay.
Charlotte O’Kelly, Managing Director of TechWorks Marine explained:
“The coastal zone is a notoriously complex area to monitor from space due to its proximity to land and also sensor pixel resolution of the images. However, improvements in sensor technology, mean it is now possible to develop Earth Observation products specifically aimed at areas of coastal activity. These products can be used to analyse the effect of waste water treatment plant outfalls in the coastal environment, or ensure that water close to the intakes of desalination plants does not have harmful algal blooms which could be a health hazard to humans.”
“We have been developing the relationship with ESA for the last four years with the help of Enterprise Ireland, which has resulted in this first significant announcement. In terms of our company growth, this contract has enabled us to recruit new staff with specific Earth Observation expertise and we plan to further grow this team in the coming months.”
“This project also importantly is enabling us to develop a close working relationship with multinationals such as the Veolia group, who manage the three waste-water plants in Donegal, to help them develop products they require for their operations both here and globally.”
Press Release, October 11, 2012