Renewable Energy Marine Structures Centre for Doctoral Training

Project: Research

Project Details


This proposal is for a Doctoral Training Centre to provide a new generation of engineering leaders in Offshore & Marine Renewable Energy Structures. This is a unique opportunity for two internationally leading Universities to join together to provide an industrially-focussed centre of excellence in this pivotal subject area.

The majority of informed and balanced views suggest approximately 180 TWh/year of offshore wind, ~300km of wave farms (19 TWh/year), 1,000 tidal stream turbines (6 TWh/year) and 3 small tidal range schemes (3 TWh/year) are desirable/achievable using David MacKay's UK DECC 2050 Pathways calculator. These together would represent 30% of predicted actual UK electricity demand. This would be a truly enormous renewable energy contribution to the UK electricity supply, given the predicted increase of electricity demand in the transport sector. The inclusion of onshore wind brings this figure closer to 38% of UK electricity by 2050.

RenewablesUK predicts Britain has the opportunity to lead the world in developing the emerging marine energy industry with the sector having the potential to employ 10,000 people and generate revenues of nearly £4bn per year by 2020.

The large scale development of offshore renewable energy (Wind, Wave and Tidal) represents one of the biggest opportunities for sustainable economic growth in the UK for a generation. The emerging offshore wind sector is however unlike the Oil & Gas industry in that structures are unmanned, fabricated in much larger volumes and the commercial reality is that the sector has to proactively take measures to further reduce CAPEX and OPEX. Support structures need to be structurally optimised and to avail of contemporary and emerging methodologies in structural integrity design and assessment. Current offshore design standards and practices are based on Offshore Oil & Gas experience which relates to unrepresentative target structural reliability, machine and structural loading characteristcs and scaling issues particularly with respect to large diameter piled structural systems. To date Universities and the Industry have done a tremendous job to help device developers test and trial different concepts however the challenge now moves to the next stage to ensure these technologies can be manufactured in volume and deployed at the right cost including installation and maintenance over the full design life.

This is a proposal to marry together Marine and Offshore Structures expertise with emerging large steel fabrication and welding/joining technologies to ensure graduates from the programme will have the prerequisite knowledge and experience of integrated structural systems to support the developing Offshore and Marine Renewable Energy sector. The Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS) Doctoral Centre CDT will embrace the full spectrum of Structural Analysis in the Marine Environment, Materials and Engineering Structural Integrity, Geotechnical Engineering, Foundation Design, Site Investigation, Soil-Structure Interaction, Inspection, Monitoring and NDT through to Environmental Impact and Quantitative Risk and Reliability Analysis so that the UK can lead the world-wide development of a new generation of marine structures and support systems for renewable energy.

The Cranfield-Oxford partnership brings together an unrivalled team of internationally leading expertise in the design, manufacture, operation and maintenance of offshore structural systems and together with the industrial partnerships forged as part of this bid promises a truly world-leading centre in Marine Structures for the 21st Century.
Effective start/end date1/05/1431/10/22


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