Our research addresses the development and evaluation of models to simulate the loading, performance and environmental impact of devices for generating electricity from the renewable sources of offshore wind, ocean waves and tidal streams. Offshore wind already provides a substantial contribution to UK electricity demand and more than 28 GW of capacity is expected to be installed at the Round 3 deployment sites.
However, there are major engineering challenges associated with increasing commercial viability, particularly as deployments move into deeper water. Wave and tidal energy combined could provide a similar electricity supply to the planned offshore wind deployments. Such technologies also represent a major new export market for the UK and Europe.
Why don't you come and join us?
A key strand of our research concerns understanding the fluid dynamics that influence energy yield and loading of devices deployed in arrays. Energy yield is of crucial importance for investors assessing project viability and to accurately assess environmental changes due to energy extraction. Accurate prediction of extreme loads enables design certification and will enable development of lower cost designs.
Manchester presently leads two EPSRC ‘Marine Energy Challenge’ projects concerning extreme loading of marine energy devices (X-MED) and the evaluation of novel wave energy concepts (STEP-WEC).
These projects are funded as part of the EPSRC UK Centre for Marine Energy Research.
This theme employs experimental methods, using the School's unique combined wave and current wide flume and various facilities across Europe, and advanced numerical models including massively parallel computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH).
The group works in close collaboration with several industry partners including EDF, GL-Garrad Hassan, Alstom Renewables (Tidal Generation Limited), Offshore Design Engineering and Tecnalia. We have recently contributed to two of the marine energy projects commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute.