New ocean energy research programme seeks to address fundamental challenges

Ocean energy researchers are being encouraged to apply to a new programme launched this week.

The EPSRC-funded Supergen UK Centre for Marine Energy Research (UKCMER), together with Wave Energy Scotland, is seeking proposals for short research projects in wave and tidal energy and floating offshore wind technologies.   

The core Supergen programme seeks to address the significant common needs for fundamental and applied research in these areas – with the goal of accelerating the commercialisation of these new technologies. EPSRC and Wave Energy Scotland (WES) will jointly support up to five short projects that complement the ongoing work in UKCMER and WES. 

“The last decade has seen significant progress in ocean renewables,” says Professor Robin Wallace, Principal Investigator at UKCMER. 

“Offshore wind projects are already common and we are starting to see the first commercial tidal stream and floating offshore wind projects take shape. The UK has developed and demonstrated more wave energy technologies than any other country in the world.” 

“Now is the time for the UK to capitalise on our existing lead in these emerging ocean energy technologies which have the potential to generate significant green power in the decades ahead. 

“This programme will help address fundamental questions which face the sector,” Professor Wallace concludes. 

Successful applicants can expect to receive up £100k towards the eligible costs of their project, which must be completed by September 2018. 

Proposals are sought that complement ongoing work, specifically in: 

  • Numerical and physical modelling of wave-current flow interactions acting on devices;
  • Novel control methods to improve performance and durability in arrays;
  • New design and test processes to predict and reduce risk and improve reliability;
  • Development of design and analysis tools to predict extreme responses and increase survivability;
  • Exploration of materials and processes, new to the sector, that increase service and operational life;
  • Disruptive technologies for devices, subsystems and components including those offering scalability.    

The call is open to staff from any UK university, engaged in offshore renewable energy research, who are eligible for EPSRC support.   

Commenting on the call Tim Hurst, Chief Executive of Wave Energy Scotland, said: "Wave Energy Scotland's main objective is to develop cost competitive wave energy technology in Scotland, and collaboration between industry and academia to solve generic technical problems is a key part of our strategy.” 

Full details are given in the call document, which is available on the UKCMER website at http://www.supergen-marine.org.uk/