The earlier months of 2022, saw the signing of the collaboration agreements between the MEECE and four Welsh universities. In addition to the ORE Catapult, the newly formed consortium consists of The Energy and Environment Research Group from Swansea University College of Engineering, Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University School of Engineering Marine Energy Research Group and finally, Cardiff Metropolitan University.
This consortium will now work collaboratively to fulfil the main MEECE objective which is to provide support to innovative companies in Wales to develop new products, processes and services for the offshore renewable energy sector. The three support package categories are as follows:
- Research, Development and Innovation
- Commercialisation support
- Company Growth Support
Below you can find a brief introduction into the works of which the universities are undertaking in the background to working with the MEECE:
Bangor University School of Ocean Science
Bangor University offer a range of laboratory facilities (including hydrodynamic, sediment and water quality labs), in addition to sea-going capabilities and numerical modelling. The School of Ocean Sciences (SOS), located by the Menai Strait, is host to the RV Prince Madog – a 40 m research vessel with 10 scientific berths, a crew of 8, and an endurance of 10 days between ports. The Prince Madog is fitted with a range of permanent equipment including various winches, a hull-mounted ADCP and a multibeam system. SOS also hosts a range of sea-going equipment (and three full-time sea going technicians), including a range of 4 and 5 beam ADCPs (at a range of frequencies), various mooring packages (including low profile trawl proof moorings suited to high energy environments), a Seabird CTD with water sampler, optical backscatters and transmissometers to measure suspended sediments, and a range of seabed sediment grabs, including a Shipek, day grab and box corer. In addition to the Prince Madog, SOS also offers a suite of inshore vessels, including an 8 m catamaran (the Macoma) fitted with a multibeam system, the 5.5 m Mya, and the 4 m Alwen Môn aluminium work boat. SOS also have additional equipment including drones, drifters, a directional wave buoy, and an X-Band radar system.
The researchers at the School of Ocean Sciences are also experts in numerical modelling which they apply, in conjunction with validation from the in situ instrumentation, to characterize and assess multiple marine renewable energy resources. They have extensive expertise in simulating the feedbacks between energy extraction and the resource itself, and world-leading expertise in simulating wave/current interaction – a prominent feature of many of the marine energy sites along the Welsh coastline. With a thorough understanding from a physical oceanography perspective, they simulate the resource over long timescales to examine inter-annual and decadal changes in the resource (including climate change), drawing on the computational capability offered by Supercomputing Wales.
Swansea University College of Engineering: The Energy and Environment Research Group
A multi-disciplinary team from the School of Aerospace, Civil, Electrical, General and Mechanical Engineering, Swansea University. The group has two main research strands: Engineering from Clouds to Coasts and Ocean Energy. Ocean Energy Research started in 2001 under the leadership of Prof. Ian Masters. Our expertise includes the study of the combined effects of currents, waves and turbulence on turbines and the interaction of turbines in arrays using numerical modelling at all scales from turbine blades, to array scale and up to regional models. Published work encompasses the following capabilities: device prototyping, technology development, CFD simulation, turbulence measurement (including its effect on devices), wave-structure interaction, subsea materials ageing and fatigue, site surveying, acoustic surveying, environmental impact identification and public perception analysis, techno-economic assessment.
The Energy and Environment research group led the coastal engineering part of SEACAMS2 (€17m, 2016-2022), supporting the marine and coastal sector in Wales. The project provides expertise, laboratories and research vessels across oceanography, marine ecology and other marine sciences.
Blue Growth is strategically important to Wales and part of the government smart specialization. Swansea University is established in this field and has experience undertaking and leading research in renewable energy as recognized by successful past (£7m LCRI Marine) and ongoing collaborations in several UK and European marine energy projects sponsored by Horizon2020, Sêr Cymru, EPSRC, ERDF, Innovate UK and industry.
Cardiff University School of Engineering Marine Energy Research Group
Research is being conducted by the Cardiff Marine Energy Research Group (CMERG) making key contributions to an emerging UK tidal stream industry.
- Design and development of laboratory scale marine turbines.
- Laboratory scale testing in recirculating flumes and tow tanks.
- Monitoring and control methodologies/strategies for turbine performance measurement and optimisation.
- CFD models of single and wake influenced turbines.
- Validation of numerical CFD models with laboratory turbines and scaling.
- Experimental and CFD methods to study the Influence of turbulence and surface gravity waves on turbine performance and wakes.
- Influence of CFD discretisation schemes on turbine performance and wake deficit.
- 1 and 2-way Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) of marine structures.
- Analysis of ADCP and bathymetry data for site optimisation.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
The research will focus on on primarily mapping supply chain capabilities and working with companies to develop their operational capacity and engineering capabilities to enter the renewable sector. More specifically the research will work with supply chain companies in Wales to identify existing market opportunities and marine energy innovation needs and to map these needs against current industry capabilities. From the mapping identify the gap in technical and resource terms so that suitable supply chain development strategies can be developed for the Supply Chain companies in Wales.