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EPSRC grants for renewable energy

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Wind turbines: the future for UK energy?
Photograph courtesy of Ministry for the Environment, New Zealand

WIND and wave power could be the future of energy in Britain as carbon-based fuels become increasingly scarce and polluting.

Yet the high cost of building and maintaining turbines and barriers is a major brake on its potential.

New research at MMU seeking to improve the cost-effective reliability and availability of renewable energy sources has won two grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The grants totalling £1/2 million go to the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Flow to support work on computational modelling of wind turbines and wave energy devices. The first is awarded as a member of the SUPERGEN 5 Wind Energy Technologies Consortium comprising nine universities and 12 industrial partners.

Prevent turbine collapse

Clive Mingham, Reader in Hydroinformatics, will lead work to model scour around offshore wind turbine: "Scour occurs when material on the sea floor is swept away from the foundations of a structure by the interaction of waves and currents. It undermines foundations, leading to structural instability and even total collapse of the turbine mount."

Research will involve further development of MMU’s AMAZON-SC free-surface flow code to represent the wave climate and scour fluid mechanics accurately.

The second project will predict the behaviour of two floating offshore wave energy devices in extreme wave conditions which is crucial to the durability of the devices once they are operating.

The project will use the MMU AMAZON suite of free surface computer codes to study two wave energy devices: Pelamis, which floats on the surface and is currently being tested off the coast of Portugal, and the Bobber designed at the University of Manchester.

Cutting-edge developments

Professor Derek Causon, who leads the second project said: "This work builds upon many years of cutting-edge code developments and both projects will make a contribution to sustainable energy generation in the UK."

The Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Flow Analysis (CMMFA) is based in the Department of Computing and Mathematics and is a centre of excellence in computational fluid dynamics, hydroinformatics and industrial blastwave hazard analysis. Substantial research funding has been obtained from many sources including the EPSRC, the Health and Safety Executive and the European Union.

For more information, see www.doc.mmu.ac.uk/cmmfa

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