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Image by Jared Erondu



Our members are engaged in various projects, on-going and finished in the Arctic region. A full list of projects are available below.

This page is currently in-progress and will be continually updated with new projects.

Cú Lir: A low cost, low carbon RV for Arctic research

Researcher name(s):

Collaborating institution(s):

Primary research area:

Secondary research area:

Project summary

(the WHY):

the HOW

the WHAT

Funding body:


Project URL:

Dr. Aidan Forde (Orca Research Ltd) & Anthony O'Reilly (Derry Connell Marine Ltd)

Engaging with potential partners during 2021

Design, construction and operation of small low carbon research vessels for marine science

Climate change, Arctic coastal and subsea permafrost, subsea clathrate deposits, high latitude coastal geomorphology and geology, training of young researchers

Cú Lir is a project to research and develop a small, environmentally friendly robust research vessel for high latitude coastal marine research.

The boat design is a development of a proven 17m aluminium expedition sailboat to now include a heave compensated 1 tonne oceanographic winch/A-frame, high voltage power supply, a large lithium battery bank and dynamic positioning. The combination of these features, a smaller vessel size and a parallel hybrid drive will deliver embodied carbon per research-person-day that will be at least an order of magnitude less than available from a similarly capable larger research vessel. In addition, the smaller size of the boat, ice strengthening and a lifting keel will allow research in pack ice-prone areas not safely accessible for larger vessels with greater draft. Its design also allows greater endurance and this in turn will facilitate longer study trips in Arctic areas.

Cú Lir will be as broadly capable as possible but will be designed particularly to support:
• investigations into how changes in permafrost and in clathrate deposits can be an indicator of polar climate change
• marine archaeology, particularly if multi-day dive programmes are necessary and require high definition acoustic survey
• investigations where an inspection class RoV is required
• science expeditions to remote sites
• science expeditions on bodies of freshwater

Research vessel, low carbon, marine geology, oceanography, Arctic climate change

Image by Alex Azabache
Image by Alex Azabache
Image by Alex Azabache
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