Centre for Advanced Materials for Renewable Energy Generation

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

Abstract

Renewable and low carbon energy sources need to be more competitive if the world is to meet the carbon emissions targets agreed in COP21. CAMREG brings together cutting edge materials researchers who will work across discipline boundaries to increase renewable energy technology durability, reliability, utility, performance and energy yield. The aim of the Centre is to combine activity, know-how and facilities from a wide range of existing fundamental and applied materials science capacity to address the known and emerging challenges in renewable energy generation, including on- and off-shore wind, wave, tidal, conventional and next-generation solar photovoltaics and energy storage. CAMREG will support and hasten the establishment or expansion of viable and sustainable renewable energy industries in the UK.

The proposed centre offers a wide breadth and considerable depth of materials research capability and capacity in many areas of renewable energy and is aimed at reducing the overall levelised cost of energy to the consumer. The centre addresses 4 of the suggested areas in the Call in the following 3 themes: multifunctional materials for energy applications; materials for energy conversion & storage and smart materials for energy applications. Research areas include: efficient materials for PV and energy storage; materials for increased power density in electrical generators; improved design and testing of composite blades for wind and tidal turbines; smart materials and optical coatings that detect early damage in wind blades; smart coatings to minimise erosion and corrosion on blades and offshore support towers; lighter-weight design of structural steels; large-scale structural testing of components; better materials fatigue and failure management; lower-maintenance materials with improved resistance to wear and corrosion; superconducting materials to transfer power over long distances with less losses; high temperature ceramics and molten salt for energy storage; electrically responsive artificial muscles that can morph the shapes of wind turbine blades to ensure better energy yields, materials for increased conversion efficiency and better mooring for wave and tidal devices.

CAMREG is a partnership of 3 research-intensive universities, Edinburgh, Cranfield and Strathclyde, which would gather and network the interests, capacity and networks of many of the RCUK investments in energy research and training, and accruing over 200 industry connections: through 3 SuperGen Hubs, Marine UKCMER, Wind and Power Networks; 4 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training - Wind Energy Systems, Wind & Marine Energy Systems, Offshore Renewable Energy Marine Structures and Integrative Sensing and Measurement; the EPSRC Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy and the DECC SLIC (Offshore Wind Structural Lifecycle) Joint Industry Project - the largest industry-funded offshore renewables related materials and structures research project worldwide, involving Certification Authorities (DNV-GL and LR) and 10 of Europe's largest energy utility companies. The Centre will also respond to the needs and experience of device developers, project planners, legislators and consenting bodies, and academic partners will continue to work closely with key UK policy stakeholders.

CAMREG underpins the efforts at existing recognised centres of renewable energy and materials science research, and encourages networking with new research groups working in complementary areas and linking centres into a coordinated national network. Expected national impacts include: environmental benefits, through increasing the potential to displace fossil fuels; economic benefit through the expansion of employment and human capacity transfer from the existing offshore energy industries; increased diversity, security and resilience of electricity supply through reduction in dependence upon imported fuel and as indigenous coal oil and gas production declines.

Planned Impact

CAMREG has been designed to maximise the impact of the proposed research on the economy and society. The Management Team and its Research Advisory Board, as well as industry partners in existing projects will ensure that CAMREG research is targeted to reduce levelised costs and overcome developmental barriers to wider acceptance and deployment of existing and new technologies. The Centre will employ, at 50%, a Network Manager who will relate to and engage with all of the other virtual centres, the existing EPSRC investments in energy and materials research and industry stakeholders. The ambition of the Centre is to assist the UK to maintain its world-lead in wind, wave, tidal, next generation solar and storage energy technologies.

CAMREG will support the establishment or expansion of viable and sustainable renewable energy industries in the UK by underpinning the efforts at existing recognised centres of renewable energy and materials science research, and encouraging those centres to link with new research groups working in complementary areas and to link centres into a coordinated national network. It will exploit opportunities for disruptive technologies and solutions discovered at the intersection of its thematic capacities. This will have the following national impacts: environmental benefits, through increasing the potential to displace fossil fuels; economic benefit through the expansion of employment and human capacity transfer from the existing offshore energy industries; increased diversity, security and resilience of electricity supply through reduction in dependence upon imported fuel and as indigenous coal oil and gas production declines.

Academic partners across CAMREG will continue to work closely with key UK policy stakeholders, including (but not restricted to): RenewableUK Marine Strategy Group, ETI Advisory Boards, Scottish Renewables Marine Working Group, Scottish Government Marine Energy Group, Marine Management Organisation, Solar Trade Association, Royal Society of Chemistry Energy Campaign. This provides two-way communications channels between CAMREG and these groupings and will also position CAMREG centrally in the strategic formation of the innovation agenda.

CAMREG accrues over 200 industry connections through its direct interface with the RCUK SuperGen Hub investments in Marine, Networks, Wind and PV, 4 Centres for Doctoral Training and the JIP in the Centrica managed SLIC (Offshore Wind Structural Lifecycle Industry Collaboration) programme which includes Certification Authorities (DNV-GL and LR) and ten of Europe's largest energy utility companies. UoE IES staff serve on the Renewables UK Marine Strategy Group and Prof Wallace chairs the ORE-Catapult Research Advisory Group. They will report on CAMREG activity and take feedback and, in turn, the Centre will take advice on direction from the membership of these groups. This will position CAMREG centrally in the strategy formation of the innovation agenda and allow core and GC partners to engage more effectively with the Catapult, industry and the Horizon 2020 programmes.

The establishment and expansion of a renewable energy industry offers potential to create significant employment and regeneration in areas facing rural or industrial decline, with social, intellectual and economic impact. CAMREG will continue to disseminate and spotlight its findings and outcomes to the broader community through a mix of traditional and non-traditional media, outside its network structure.

Ensuring that the marine energy industry is environmentally sustainable is a key pre-requisite from resource assessment, through consenting into operation and decommissioning. The impact of failure to achieve environmental sustainability is huge and CAMREG will work with other national initiatives, sponsored by NERC, to ensure that best practices are developed for a fair and equitable operation to ensure acceptable minimal environmental impact.
 
Description Ideas Factory 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The aim of this interactive and collaborative event was to create a space in which materials scientists/engineers can build a network with other peers, to develop their thinking about challenges in the field and to explore interdisciplinary approaches and ideas.
The main objectivesare to provide the participants:
• New connections in the energy and materials field
• A better awareness of flexible funding opportunities
• Access to partners for future project development
• Fresh ideas and a sense of how to develop these
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.camreg.chem.ed.ac.uk/camreg-project-factory-industry-engagement
 
Description Project Factory - Industry Engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This interactive and collaborative event was a follow up from the earlier Ideas Factory and focused in Industry strategic priorities and project/proposal building to meet those.

It also created a space in which materials scientists/engineers were able to build their network with their peers, to develop their ideas further into tangible proposals, thinking about challenges in the field and taking on board industry challenges.

The event wass structured to maximise time for networking, taking ideas developed in our last event to the next level and reacting to speakers.

Several industry representatives were invited and shared their views on the challenges in the area of materials science for renewable energy applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.camreg.chem.ed.ac.uk/camreg-project-factory-industry-engagement