UK universities are planning to venture into wave power technology

Energy Environment

Various UK universities are participating in the new projects exploring and testing new wave energy technologies. This study is under the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which offered £7.5 million.

The projects will establish the UK’s marine wave energy exploits that would enable it to switch to better and cleaner energy sources. The development of wave energy converters on a commercial scale has been challenging since the weather is dynamic. Such weather interferes with the projects’ progress, making them more costly than the energy developers had projected. These eight projects will monitor the innovative mechanisms that can be deployed to make the actual installations successful.

The research projects will also analyze how to optimize the ocean-based technology that utilizes the storm waves effectively. The energy minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said that the coastline as well as the power of the seas offer new energy sources that can help the country achieve its climate change mitigation plans. If these projects are successful, they will help the country eliminate carbon emissions in the next three decades. Trevelyan explained that they would be assessing the challenges that come with exploring the energy from this environment. Additionally, it can help in the utilization of the technology to make clean energy for the country.

One of the projects is the MoorWEC (Mooring analysis as well as design for the offshore WEC survivability and fatigue). Peter Stansby chairs the project at the University of Manchester. This project would allow the energy developers to utilize £997,000 that the EPSRC appropriates to make energy from the ocean waves and replace the emissive energy generated from fossil fuels. The other project is called BASM-WEC (Bionic Adaptive Stretchable Materials for Wave Energy Converters).

The project is headed by Qing Xiao from the University of Strathclyde and received a grant of £975,000 from EPSRC. The project will be evaluating how flexible materials imitating the body parts of the aquatic animals could be employed in WECs. These materials allow the energy developers to commercialize the WECs and offer efficiency for these projects. Moreover, the harsh sea conditions can teach the developers to maneuver around them and offer the best energy alternatives even in tough situations. The final project discussed in this piece is the Flexible Responsive Systems in Wave Energy and will be working with deformable materials like flexible fabrics. This project will ensure that the WECs have improved efficiency, reliability and are affordable for energy generation. Deborah Greaves would chair this project from the University of Plymouth with a grant of £984,000.

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