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Cardiff joins offshore renewable energy project

13 April 2022

Cardiff University has formally joined the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE), based in Pembroke Dock, to help advance the Welsh marine and offshore renewable energy sectors.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Swansea Bay City Deal, MEECE is part of the £60-million-pound Pembroke Dock Marine Project.

It is designed to be a catalyst for research, technology innovation and testing and demonstration to accelerate the commercialisation of the wave, tidal and offshore wind sectors by reducing the cost of energy, improving efficiency and reliability, and supporting the growth of the Welsh supply chain.

Cardiff University has significant expertise in marine energy that will be used extensively throughout the project.

Cardiff University’s Cardiff Marine Energy Research Group (CMERG) and Hydro-environmental Research Centre (HRC) have tested some of the most advanced scale models of tidal stream turbines, leading to a greater understanding of how the dynamic tidal environment influences turbine performance and reliability.

They also have expertise in hydro-environmental and computational fluid dynamics modelling to enhance the design of various devices and assess their far-field impacts as well as operating several flume tanks and tidal basins.

Researchers at the School of Engineering have developed state-of-the-art methods for optimising the operation of tidal range schemes, including tidal barrages and lagoons, and assessing their impacts on the surrounding environment.

Swansea, Cardiff Metropolitan and Bangor Universities have also joined the Centre and will support innovation projects through ORE Catapult’s, each bringing unique capabilities.

As lead institution, Swansea University will coordinate activity within the university partners and will work closely with organisations including UK EPSRC, Supergen ORE, Ocean Energy Europe and other coordinating bodies to ensure that projects are complementary to other funded activities.

Professor Reza Ahmadian, Professor of Water and Environmental Engineering and the Director of International at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering said: “In Wales, we have exceptional resources for marine renewable energy. The world’s most significant tidal range scheme proposal is connected to Wales and projects like MEECE provide us with a unique opportunity to support research, innovation and development of marine renewable energy in Wales.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, Research & Innovation Director for ORE Catapult, said: “Having our university partners onboard will greatly enhance the MEECE offering to the Welsh offshore wind, wave and tidal energy sectors. We will be able to draw on their unique and world-leading facilities and expertise to complement our own and drive technology innovation, supporting existing businesses and new companies looking to set up in the region to grasp the huge economic opportunities on offer.”

The universities will support four existing MEECE-led projects, including the design and testing of aerodynamic add-ons, referred to as vortex generators, to improve the energy yield of wind turbines as well as supporting Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company (PBFC) in the design and testing of a simple and scalable seaweed growing system for offshore environments for the purposes of carbon offsetting.

Support will also be provided to Applied Petroleum Technology (APT) in the development of a user-friendly, cloud-based constraints mapping tool to streamline the development and planning of offshore wind farms, and Sea Watch Foundation (SWF) in the development of a mobile app for use by the public to register sightings of cetaceans, which can be used to assist project developers during the consenting process of offshore renewable energy projects.

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