EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


This proposal is to establish a DTC in Wind and Marine Energy Systems. It brings together the UK's leading institutions in Wind Energy, the University of Strathclyde, and Marine Energy, the University of Edinburgh. The wider aim, drawing on existing links to the European Research Community, is to maintain a growing research capability, with the DTC at is core, that is internationally leading in wind and marine energy and on a par with the leading centres in Denmark, the USA, Germany and the Netherlands. To meet the interdisciplinary research demands of this sector requires a critical mass of staff and early stage researchers, of the sort that this proposal would deliver, to be brought together with all the relevant skills.
Between the two institutions, academic staff have in-depth expertise covering the wind and wave resource, aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, design of wind turbines and marine energy devices, wind farms, fixed and floating structures, wind turbine, wind farm and marine energy devices control, power conversion, condition monitoring, asset management, grid-integration issues and economics of renewable energy. A centre of learning and research with strong links to the Wind and Marine Energy industry will be created that will provide a stimulating environment for the PhD students. In the first year of a four year programme, a broad intensive training will be provided to the students in all aspects of Wind and Marine Energy together with professional engineer training in research, communication, business and entrepreneurial skills. The latter will extend throughout the four years of the programme. Research will be undertaken in all aspects of Wind and Marine Energy.
A DTC in Wind and Marine Energy Systems is vital to the UK energy sector for a number of reasons. The UK electricity supply industry is currently undergoing a challenging transition driven by the need to meet the Government's binding European targets to provide 15% of the UK's total primary energy consumption from renewable energy sources by 2020. Given that a limited proportion of transport and heating energy will come from such sources, it is expected that electricity supply will make the major contribution to this target. As a consequence, 40% or more of electricity will have to be generated from non-thermal sources. It is predicted that the UK market for both onshore and offshore wind energy is set to grow to £20 billion by 2015.There is a widely recognised skills gap in renewable energy that could limit this projected growth in the UK and elsewhere unless the universities dramatically increase the scale of their activities in this area.
At the University of Strathclyde, the students will initially be housed in the bespoke accommodation in the Royal College Building allocated and refurbished for the existing DTC in Wind and Marine Energy Systems then subsequently in the Technology and Innovation Centre Building when it is completed. At the University of Edinburgh, the students will be housed in the bespoke accommodation in the Kings Buildings allocated and refurbished for the existing IDC in Offshore Renewable Energy. The students will have access to the most advanced design, analysis and simulation software tools available, including the industry standard wind turbine and wind farm design tools and a wide range of power system and computation modelling packages.
Existing very strong links to industry of the academic team will be utilised to provide strategic guidance to the proposed DTC in Wind and Marine Energy through company membership of its Industrial Advisory Board and participation in 8 week 7 projects as part of the training year and in 3 year PhD projects. In addition, to providing suggestions for projects and engaging in the selection process, the Industry Partners provide support in the form of data, specialist software, access to test-rigs and advice and guidance to the students.

Planned Impact

The research challenge and skills shortage to be addressed by the proposed CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems is central to the success of UK plans for a high penetration of renewable energy (much of this to be from onshore and offshore wind together with other marine renewable energy sources) and thus to meeting the Government's binding EU obligations to provide 15% of UK energy from non-carbon sources by 2020.
Since this is a Centre for Doctoral Training, the primary impact on UK society in general and UK industry in particular will be through the provision of highly trained engineers, expert in wind and marine energy. Most of the CDT graduates will be expected to take up posts in the growing commercial wind and marine energy sectors, and quickly rise to positions of leadership and influence. Given the continuing importance of research, especially for offshore wind and marine energy technology , it is hoped that some graduates will remain in the Higher Education sector and develop academic careers. This would provide a further, albeit slower impact through an improved research base and capability to deal with the inevitable research challenges of the sector as it develops further commercially.
UK industry, directly and indirectly involved in the wind and marine energy, will be beneficiaries. The proposed DTC will link strongly to all sectors, OEMs, components suppliers, developers, operators and consultants, aligning its research programme in Technology Readiness Levels one to four with their concerns and priorities. The existing extensive network of Industry Partners, that closely engage with the existing DTC in Wind Energy Systems and IDC in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE, will be maintained and built on to ensure this alignment is achieved. Their role will include membership of the Industrial Advisory Board, suggestion and development of topics for the first year 8 week mini-projects and the main 3 year research projects, partnering and providing advice, guidance and support. In this way the research undertaken will be directly driven by industry needs and the research outcomes will help the commercial sector address key issues facing them.
A further impact will be through dissemination of the research outcomes to the wider research community both nationally and internationally. DTC students and supervisors will continue to publish in leading international journals, and dissemination will be supplemented by attending appropriate conferences and through organisations like the European Academy of Wind Energy, the IEC and CIGRE, and most importantly through direct contact with the industrial research leaders. The proposal team has excellent contacts in both the UK power and renewable energy sectors (National Grid, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), and Scottish Power/Iberdrola among others) and overseas (EDF, Gamesa, Siemens, EDP, China State Grid, etc.), as well of course with the international research community (NREL, DTU/RISO, ECN, EPRI, CEPRI, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, UCD, etc.)
The strong links and support from the wind and marine sectors allied to the UK electricity generation sector will ensure National Impact. In addition, Strathclyde's recently established Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) partnerships with SSE and Scottish Power/Iberdrola will provide an excellent framework to promote diffusion of the ideas generated by the DTC activity into the electricity supply and renewable energy and offshore sectors. In addition good links have been established with the new TSB Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult based in Glasgow and NAREC, with both Universities represented on their Research Advisory Board.


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