Power of the sea

Lancaster University’s Renewable Energy Group has been awarded over £0.75m to help develop wave-power generators.

Lancaster University’s Renewable Energy Group (LUREG), part of the Department of Engineering, has been awarded over £0.75m to help develop wave-power generators.

The funding comes in two separate grants awarded to George Aggidis, director of LUREG, from ESPRC and The Joule Centre.

The Joule Centre – a partnership of North West Universities and key players in the energy industry – has allocated a £0.25m for research led by Aggidis and his partners at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) on a new wave energy converter called WRASPA.

The WRASPA concept (Wave-driven, Resonant, Arcuate-action, Surging Power-Absorber) will be evaluated through the use of computational and experimental modelling in a joint collaborative programme in the North West of England between Lancaster and MMU.

A second award of £600,000 from EPSRC to Aggidis forms part of £5.5m in funding for Lancaster University and partners at the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Strathclyde and Queen’s Belfast, as part of The EPSRC SuperGen Marine 2 research programme.

Together, these six UK universities form The Marine Energy Consortium, which focuses on how marine energy resources might potentially be exploited.

With the new funding, the researchers hope to discover more about the way energy converters interact with their environment by working with scale-models in the laboratory and full size devices in the open sea.

Work undertaken will be wide-ranging, from testing new designs to refining their control systems. The researchers hope to discover the best ways to design devices for mixed tidal and wave environments, as well how to overcome the problems of fixing, mooring and recovery of the systems.

They will also assess the environmental impact of large arrays of wave energy converters, and the economic challenges posed by the variable and intermittent nature of wave power.