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Southampton at heart of investment to keep UK as global leader in offshore renewables

Published: 31 July 2018
Wind turbines
Southampton's current research involves partnerships with wind, tidal and wave energy industries.

A national consortium of universities – including the University of Southampton – has been awarded £5 million to champion and maintain the UK’s leading position in the field of offshore renewable energy (ORE).

The consortium, ORE Supergen, is one of three UK national energy research hubs, plus a new solar energy network, to receive over £16M through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

ORE Supergen brings together the related research areas of wave, tidal and offshore wind through a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders who, together, will address any technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges which require a coordinated response at national and regional level. The group will build a collaborative approach which will bring the added benefits of spreading best practice through the research community, supporting equality and diversity, and ensuring support of early career researchers.

Southampton will lead one of the five Work Packages in the ORE Supergen Hub, with geotechnical engineer Professor David White, holding a Co-Director role in the Hub. Southampton has a long record of excellence in research and education in support of ocean industries, spearheaded through the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute which brings together over 350 academics across a wide range of disciplines related to the oceans.

The University’s current research programme on offshore renewable energy includes partnerships with the wind, tidal and wave energy industries. Projects range from the development of improved tidal turbines, using our hydrodynamic tow tank facilities, through to field testing of novel foundation solutions for offshore wind turbines.

“Southampton’s contribution to the EPSRC Supergen Hub for Offshore Renewable Energy will bring expertise across fluids, structures and seabed engineering, to unlock better technologies to harness offshore renewable energy," said Professor White. "Our new developments on the Boldrewood Innovation Campus, including the UKCRIC National Infrastructure Laboratory, provide us with unique facilities to address the pressing challenges in offshore renewables. Along with our academic and industry partners, we’re looking forward to boosting the UK’s offshore renewable industry, as offshore wind moves into deeper water and wave and tidal energy prove their potential.”

ORE Supergen is led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE at the University of Plymouth, working alongside academics from the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, Strathclyde and Warwick.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “As we move towards a low carbon future we need to explore the fundamental science that can spark new technologies and systems as well as linking researchers to industry to meet their needs. As the threats from climate change become ever-more apparent there is a pressing need for the UK, and the world, to act collaboratively to address the challenges of clean energy production, distribution and storage.”

 

 

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