Archive for Renewables

Optimising home heating controls – Gro Bursary Resarch masters opportunity in LIT Tipperary Thurles Campus

If you are interested in carrying out research into the rapidly expanding area of home heating controls then you should consider an oppurtunity that just come available in LIT Tipperary. This research would lead to the awarding of a Research Masters degree by LIT. The bursary will cover tuition and relevant conference fees for publication of research.

A colleague and I will be supervising the research which will be base in the Thurles campus.

Research Area
The Department of Technology, Media and Science at the Limerick Institute of
Technology, Tipperary School has been awarded GRO Bursary funding to carry out
research in the area of optimising home energy heating controls.
Profile of the Candidate
• Primary honours degree in engineering or computing.
• Interest in pursuing postgraduate studies in an area related to energy management
and sustainable energy.
• Data analysis (compilation, interrogation and verification) experience or interest
in this field
• Ability to work on hardware, software related to heating control systems
• Interest in user interface design and usability issues
• Practical “hands on” approach to working with industry and homeowners
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to work within a
• Interest in developing the commercialisation of innovative heating control
• Studies will be based in Thurles Campus (LIT Tipperary) and will involve
working with industry partner (Climate)
Minimum Entry Requirements
A minimum of a 2.2. Hons degree in Computing or Engineering
Research enquiries should be directed to Liam Noonan;
Department of Technology, Media and Science
Tipperary School
Nenagh Rd
Co. Tipperary
For application enquiries please contact

LIT Tipperary Weather Station now on the Internet

Students and staff from the BSc (Hons) degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Management and BSc (Hons) degree in Computing Smart Sustainable Energy pictured at LIT Tipperary’s new weather station on a stormy day on the Thurles campus when winds were gusting at 60 km/h and 4.6 mm of rain fell. Pictured left to right, Elisha McGrane, Kevin O Meara, Matthew Connaughton, Alex Herzog, Zu Mecklenburg, Thomas Murphy, Shaun Russell, Michael Dunne, Fearghal McDonnell, David Connolly, Padraic Grace, Christopher Maguire, Dr Liam Noonan


Rain, hail or shine… can now get the most up-to-date information on weather conditions in Tipperary from the LIT Tipperary webpage:

LIT Tipperary has recently installed a weather station which records all weather data to the Internet. This data is available to all and should prove an invaluable resource for primary and secondary schools as well as amateur meteorologists.

The provision and installation of this service was identified and installed by the staff and students of LIT Tipperary’s honours degrees in Smart Sustainable Energy and Environmental and Natural Resource Management.

“Being able to measure and record weather conditions means that we can use this information to try and utilise less energy in our homes and offices. The graduates from our Smart Energy degree programme will be able to use this information to design products to reduce our energy consumption. Companies in all sectors are actively trying to reduce their energy demand and will require graduates with these skills” stated Dr Liam Noonan, Programme leader for the BSc (Honours) degree in Computing (Smart Sustainable Energy) –

“The production and analysis of data is an important part of environmental management. Students of the honours degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Management at LIT Tipperary are keenly aware of this in their examination of a wide range of resources including waste, water, energy, climate and biodiversity. Our students get opportunities to produce and gather their own scientific data during research they undertake as part of the programme” said Elisha McGrane, Programme Leader for the BSc (Honours) degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Management –

So for up to the minute information on whether it’s time for the ‘brolly’ or the ‘bbq’, just check out the LIT Tipperary weather station!

An extra 20,000 jobs in renewable energy is good news for LIT Tipperary Smart Energy students

The news of a possible 20,000 jobs being created by 2020 is good news for LIT Tipperary Smart Energy students  “The sustainable energy sector offers significant benefits to Ireland, including creating jobs, increased competitiveness and future proofing against upward price trends,” said Prof J Owen Lewis, chief executive of SEAI. For more information I would recommend the article on silicon republic.

The Great Energy Challenge Blog

I came across this blog via link on a national geographic article. Well written and informative. Worth bookmarking. The site is owned by the National Geographic

LIT Tipperary Weather station

Our LIT Tipperary weather station is now publishing to the internet via weather underground. We will use this data in our Smart Sustainable Energy degree and the Environmental Management Degree.

Smart Gas meters benefit Irish commerical and domestic users

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) published the results of their smart gas meter trial on October 11th 2011.  The trial was rolled out to 2000 small businesses and homes across Ireland and concluded in May 2011.  The headline result was a reduction in gad usage in 2.9% which is statistically significant.

These meters reported usage on a 30/60 minute interval, this information was available through an online portal as well as a device in the building.

The CER also publsihed that the smart electricity meter trial recorded a reduction on average of 2.5% and a peak time reduction of 8.8%

We envisage that stundents of LIT Tipperary’s Smart Sutainable Energy degree programme will be examining the design of these meters as well as the cost/benefit analysis

Saving money on smart meter roll outs by using broadband friendly meters

Technology incompatibility can cost a state millions in smart meter roll outs. This is being experienced in the state of Victoria in Australia as reported in The electricity companies have opted for wireless technology not broadband to retrieve data from the smart meters. Coupled with the fact that the meters only have a life span of 15 years and Victorians will have to start paying for replacements from 2024.

An investigation by the newspaper the Herald Sun has uncovered a significant design flaw with the meter roll out as the meter were not designed to integrate with the governments roll out of a digital cable network known as the National Broadband Network (NBN). The meters are not compatible with the NBN for a number of “technical reasons”

The smart meter roll out commenced in October 2009 while the NBN roll out only commenced in August of this year so there is some argument but I am surprised that there is no simple bridging/gateway solution. Bridging/gateway solutions are a popular for allowing different protocols and systems to interface with each other. These are issues that our Smart Sustainable Energy students will be studying and developing hardware and software solutions for.

About 800,000 of the 2 million meters have been installed already and the cost of the roll out has doubled to 2 billion Australian dollars. Analysts estimate that if the meters were NBN compatible they could save between 250 and 300 million dollars on the roll out.

So the mantra for a smart meter roll out in Ireland is compatibility.



LIT-Tipperary application for Green-Campus Programme accepted by An Taisce

As part of LIT- Tipperary’s ethos of a sustainable campus we recently applied for the Green-Campus programme. An Taisce has accepted our application to register for their Green-Campus programme. The Green-Campus programme will increase the opportunities for our students to engage in active learning and to gain practical experience in environmental management – particularly relevant to our programmes of BSc (Hons) in Environmental and Natural Resource Management and BSc (Hons) in Computing (Smart Sustainable Energy).

LIT Tipperary shows the way at International Energy Conference

My colleague Seamus Hoyne presented at a major gathering of experts at a conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. They attendees heard about a range of sustainable energy projects being developed in Tipperary.  RETScreen International, developers of a software tool for assessing the potential for energy projects, had invited Seamus Hoyne from LIT-Tipperary to present the work of the Institute and that of the Tipperary Energy Agency at their inaugural international conference.

Approximately 240 attendees were present at the event where projects involving wind energy, biomass heating and energy efficiency upgrades were presented by Seamus.  The audience included engineers, architects, consultants, academics and project developers from Canada, USA, EU, Asia and Africa.

Seamus filled me on some of the RETScreen usage stats “We have been working with RETScreen since 2000 and have used the tool extensively for the development of projects.  It has close to 300,000 users across the world and has proven to be an excellent tool for assessing energy projects at the feasibility stage. LIT-Tipperary and the TEA bring a unique perspective in that we include the use of RETScreen in education, training and project development.  I was letting the conference participants know about how we have used the tool and what we plan to use it for in the future.  For example, we will be using RETScreen as part of the Institute’s Degree in Smart Sustainable Energy.  Also, we are developing an on-line training course in RETScreen which we hope to have available later this year.”

Participants were particularly interested in the fact that LIT-Tipperary and the TEA have combined education, training and project development elements in its activities.  A new network of RETScreen trainers has been established and LIT Tipperary will be involved in its development.  LIT Tipperary has started discussions with RETScreen so that students on the Smart Sustainable Energy Degree will be working on new modules as part of their degree programme.  This will give the students great experience of working on real world problems related to the sustainable energy sector.


Free irish newspapers on your kindle

Irish Independent on the Kindle. Mobi file created by Calibre

Irish Independent on the Kindle. Mobi file created by Calibre

I am a big fan of the wifi version of the kindle as I can use Calibre to download Irish & UK news papers and have them converted to a mobi kindle file which then gets emailed to my kindle. All this is achieved via 1 click.

A kindle has an associated email address. To send a document to your kindle you just email it as an attachment. I hope to exploit this feature and use it good effect for keeping up to date with developments in the sustainable energy tech sector which our students in LIT Tipperary will be exploring as part of our degree in smart sustainable energy