United Kingdom Centre for Marine Energy Research

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


The UK Centre for Marine Energy Research (UKCMER) is being funded as the third phase of Research Councils UK's flagship SuperGen marine programme. UKCMER aims to:1. conduct world-class fundamental and applied research that assists the marine energy sector in the UK to reliably and dependably accelerate deployment rates and ensure sustained growth in generating capacity to meet the 2020 targets,2. expand and more effectively operate an inclusive network of academic researchers, industry partners and international collaborators, and3. continue to provide the highest quality of doctoral training and knowledge transfer in partnership with industry to build intellectual and human capacity for the marine energy sector.The Centre will achieve these aims through three closely integrated activities: Firstly the operation of a network of excellence which draws together marine energy researchers and developers from UK academia, industry, and the wider international community; Secondly, undertaking a focussed and directed programme of industry driven fundamental research to address issues affecting the push to meet the ambitious deployment target of installing 2GW of generating capacity by 2020; and, finally, the provision of a training programme to develop the knowledge and understanding of both the next next and present generations of marine energy professionals. The five year research programme will be guided by the marine energy industry, through a formally constituted Research Advisory Forum, to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the sector. Based on this advice, a series of thematic workshops is being organised to shape future research programmes and build teams of researchers and developers who are able to seek funding from other organisations, such as the technology strategy board (TSB), energy technologies institute (ETI), and European Commission (EC). The research output from the Centre and updates from project and technology developers will be presented at the Annual Assembly, held in November each year. The bi-annual, week long, residential short courses, which form part of the doctoral training programme, are open to participants from industry as well as PhD and EngD students and offer continuing professional development (CPD) credits. In addition to the PhD students funded by EPSRC as part of this project, the Centre is engaging with the KTP management centres to fund additional EngD studentships through knowledge transfer partnership with industry.

Planned Impact

Academic Impact: The academic marine energy research community will benefit from the proposed activity through: direct expansion of understanding within the designated priority themes; enhancement of opportunities for collaboration between specialist academic groups within the network; communication of this new understanding within the consortium and associated network; enhancement of opportunities for researcher-developer feedback, through the operation of the broader R&D community of which the proposed consortium and network are a part; enhancement of direct communication between the research, development, legislative and policy stakeholders to ensure that ongoing and future research is appropriately targeted for immediate and future requirements of the marine energy sector; support of the next generation of academic specialists in the field of marine energy through ongoing career development of post doctoral research assistant within the consortium; development of the next generation of professional researchers, academic and industrial, through support and guidance of doctoral students within the consortium and affiliate members. Economic and Societal Impact: The marine energy sector has often been characterised by lost opportunities to benefit from appropriate communication of available fundamental knowledge and experience. Just as academics will benefit from communication of developer experience of design and deployment, the developers will benefit from ready access through the consortium and its associated network to the very latest enhancements of understanding. In addition they will benefit from being able to access the researcher experience, which has been enhanced by the direct research and enhanced communication allowed by the communication within the consortium. The consortium will generate a considerable cohort of PhD graduates, many of whom will enter employment within the broader marine renewable energy sector, but outside of the academic community, where their expertise and skills will enhance the knowledge base. Experience within Supergen Marine I and II has suggested that the enhancement of the direct human resource available to the sector has had direct benefit. The developer community will also benefit from the single-point-of contact represented by the PI in his role at Champion . The UK has been a pioneer in the development of marine energy since the 1970s. Since then, the international marine community has drawn heavily upon UK experience and understanding. Activity within the consortium will further this interchange, with prospective benefits for UK export (IP and hardware) opportunities. An enhanced marine renewable industry will benefit the UK itself in at least two direct manners: employment in a new energy industry will have a direct benefit to the economy; significant proportions of marine capacity in the electricity generation portfolio will displace fossil fuel consumption with benefit to the environment and to energy security. At present, the marine sector is too small to significantly impact on either of these benefits. At present, the technology is seen as too immature and expensive to offer sufficiently attractive investment, which would drive future large scale expansion, although support mechanisms such as ROCS and the Marine Renewable Deployment Fund are intended to enhance the commercial attractiveness. Research and communication of the results of the research associated with this proposal, will continue to remove barriers, both real and perceived, to cost reduction. In addition, enhanced understanding of environmental impacts will reduce uncertainties which would otherwise result in over cautious planning constraints.


10 25 50
Description This project is now concluded. It explored some of the grand challenges facing the marine energy sector, including: upscaling to arrays and farms; extreme loadings and survival, novel systems, components and devices; environmental interaction and fatigue and reliability. The outputs, findings, impact, collaborations and industry and policy interaction were reported in the Phase 3 Monograph, available to download from the website.
Exploitation Route The work of UKCMER is influencing technology, policy, standards, regulation and practice across the tidal and wave energy sector.
Sectors Energy


URL https://www.supergen-marine.org.uk/
Description The findings of this collaborative project influenced technology, policy, standards, regulation and practice in the marine energy sector.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic