UCD Earth Institute is a centre for energy and environment research of a scale capable of leading Ireland’s response to climate change and the global energy crisis, thereby making Ireland an innovation hub for ‘green technologies’. The mission of the Institute is to find solutions to key challenges in sustainable energy, climate change, natural hazards, nature conservation and the built environment that are relevant for Ireland and contribute to global understanding.
The UCD Earth Institute comprises more than 100 Principal Investigators (PIs) and their research teams, focusing on research problems including climate adaptation, biodiversity, energy resource characterisation, natural hazards, transport and infrastructure, sustainable agriculture and food supply. Contributing to, and influencing policy formation is a constant activity throughout all these research endeavours.
The research agenda of the Earth Institute ensures UCD is well placed to address some of the most critical challenges facing society in the twenty-first century. The basic disciplines underpinning the research activities are varied and diverse, but can be clustered under three main headings:
- Earth Resources Characterisation
- Climate Adaptation, Mitigation and Geohazards
- Smart Cities and Infrastructure
One of the critical challenges facing society in the twenty-first century is the finite nature of many of earth’s resources and in particular its energy resources. The Earth Resources Characterisation cluster in the UCD Earth Institute is exploring ways of maximising these limited resources together with identifying new, sustainable pathways to energy efficiency.
Researchers are investigating the opportunities that exist from resources such as wind, ocean waves, and the sun. In addition there are teams looking at tapping the potential of geothermal energy from the earth’s subsurface and the possibilities of harnessing biomass for bioenergy purposes. Investigators are also examining efficient and economical ways of using remaining hydrocarbons for energy.
The Principal Investigators in this cluster have close links with those working elsewhere in UCD on the generation and distribution of energy. The UCD Earth Institute plays a critical role in the energy cycle by identifying, mapping, characterising and quantifying the many varied resources we can benefit from, and how best these resources can be harnessed.
By 2020, Ireland is committed to finding at least 16% of its energy requirements from renewable sources. The UCD Earth Institute is committed to helping the nation meet these targets while continuing to manage our resources in a sustainable manner for the future. The work of this cluster within the Institute is significant in this endeavour.