Thursday 23 June 2016

Reflections on Paimpont

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the INORE (International Network for Offshore Renewable Energy) symposium last week.

 It was great to be in the company of such enthusiastic, smart, and thoroughly nice people. I could tell that some good friendships had been forged, which got me all nostalgic for my first INORE symposium in Scotland 9 years ago.

In this photo we see the INOREans have finally found a use for the spare t-shirts (other than giving them to the guest speakers).

The location was utterly beautiful: a research station set in the forest of Brocéliande of Arthurian legend. The glass and wooden dining hall overlooked a small dam. The dam was surrounded by natural woodlands, and so it came as a shock when I spotted giant goldfish and rats swimming around. I later learned that the koi and muskrat were invasive species. This all makes more sense considering this is a biological research station.
We were really lucky with the weather. Mostly it drizzled, so I was not looking forward to the 'fun' afternoon of beach volleyball and paddle-boarding. When we arrived, the beach was suspiciously reminiscent of Scotland... until the sun came out. Fun was had. See photo for a demonstration of the "Salter's Duckface".

There was a giant foam board with enough space for around ten people standing up on it. From what I could tell, the main objective was to remain on the board while the waves (and fellow passengers) threw everyone else off.

Back at the research station, we played a Breton game so obscure, it doesn't even have an English wikipedia page: Palet Breton. By 'we played' I mean, 'others played', while I lobbed the chunk of lead in the general direction of the board and hoped it didn't hit a bystander.

The most memorable entertainment was the minstrel, who told Arthurian tales while strumming medieval-ish instruments. He also played various wind instruments, including a pentatonic flute carved from bone, modelled after stone-age archealogical finds. My favourite was a double flute. It was so mesmerising, I have included a video here.

In case any of the sponsors get the impression that this was just a summer camp, I feel obliged to include photos of all the work we managed to pack in. As usual, there were posters and collaborative tasks. Some of the INOREans also gave presentations of their research.


Prize winners:

Presentation: Donald Noble spoke about his research on investigation and simulation of wave and tidal interaction in Flowave.
Collaborative task: The winning team were Anna Teruel, Daniel Walia, Pierre Benreguig and Georgia Sismani. David Ogden from Innosea introduced them to InWave, which they used to simulate the impulse response of a floating double-flap device.
Poster: Marinella Passarella presented a case study of site selection for wave farms in the Mediteranean, that took into account environmental considerations.

Highlights of the symposium included tours of St Nazaire Port facilities and the ECN tanks. There were also many talks by the symposium sponsors that gave a snap-shot of the world beyond academia. My ticket to this amazing event involved participation in a panel discussion on public acceptance of offshore renewables, and a presentation on the theme of NIMBYism (slides available). 

Many thanks to INORE and its sponsors for enabling me to attend this event and for giving me a reason/deadline to collect together the history of the AquaBuOY project.

Image credits:
I am very grateful to INOREan Mojtaba Kamarlouei for sharing all these great images with us!

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