Modelling, Optimisation and Design of Conversion for Offshore Renewable Energy (UK-China MOD-CORE) (Newton Fund)

  • McDonald, Alasdair (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


"Both the UK and China face great demands for offshore renewable energy (ORE) yet high risks have impeded faster development. While the cost of generated energy has just been reduced to £100/MWhr for offshore wind in the UK (4 years ahead of government schedule) deployment further offshore will increase both the capital and operational maintenance (OM) costs. in China, onshore wind power is severely curtailed due to crowded transmission corridors. Exploitation of offshore wind would better match the population distribution in China, and so hence there is a strong motivation to exploit this ORE. In order accelerate this development, new technologies are desperately needed to improve the performance in terms of cost, efficiency and reliability (availability). In addition to offshore wind, other forms of marine renewable energy will also play indispensable roles in the future renewable energy mix. Because these technologies are less mature, this development involves even higher risks. As yet none of the wave energy generation companies have shown to be commercially viable without economic support mechanisms.

Recognising the high risks involved and the development work that is urgently needed in the industry, this project aims to carry out fundamental modelling and validating work that will lead to the capability of virtual prototyping. Such a capability will significantly accelerate and de-risk the development work in industry. Complementary expertise in the two countries are combined to address the requirements of overall system performance from ORE devices (wind and wave) to grid, and focuses on the critical technical aspects that will dictate the design decisions. This will be achieved through multiple scale (dimensional and time-wise) and multiple resolution modelling, taking into account the specifications and utilisation of materials and components in the designed systems subject to optimal control. The modelling will cover the manufacturability of the desigs and will consider environmental constraints including impact on sea life in different locations. These will be important as ORE development is scaled up in the future. The outcome of research will be demonstrated through a series of case studies including both systems for large wind farms and wave arrays, and also small scale devices supplying energy to off-grid islands.

The project members have long track records in modelling and design of components in wind and marine renewable systems. The project allows the researchers to interact and carry out studies cutting across the borders of different engineering disciplines, enabling hi-fidelity modelling and virtual prototyping."
Effective start/end date1/07/172/01/21


  • EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council): £809,108.00


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