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Exeter part of £5million programme to maintain UK’s status as global leader in offshore renewables

Exeter part of £5million programme to maintain UK’s status as global leader in offshore renewables

The University of Exeter is part of national consortium awarded £5million to bring together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to champion and maintain the UK’s world-leading expertise in offshore renewable energy (ORE).

ORE Supergen is part of a programme of initiatives being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and brings together the related research areas of wave, tidal and offshore wind.

Its aim is to maintain the UK’s leading position in the field and to address any technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges which require a coordinated response at national and regional level.

It 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.

Academics from Exeter’s Renewable Energy department, based at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, will work alongside experts from the University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of Hull, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Strathclyde, and the University of Warwick.

Dr Philipp Thies, Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy and one of the Co-Directors of the ORE Supergen Hub said: “This is a great opportunity for the offshore renewable energy sector to come together and tackle some of the common challenges, ranging from technology assessment over reliability challenges to environmental and socio-economic challenges.

“The Hub aims to act as a focal point for the sector, with academic research going hand in hand with industry needs. The Offshore Renewable Energy Group at the University of Exeter will bring its long-standing excellence and in applied ocean technology research to the Hub, including physical component testing and best practice in field demonstration. It will also help to foster the international collaboration as part of the UK China Centre of Offshore Renewable Energy.

“The Hub also aims to secure and enhance the research capacity and skills for the sectors, so I am particularly pleased to represent the view and interests of Early Career Researchers in this exciting initiative to further progress the successful R&D in the UK’s offshore energy sector.”

The ORE Supergen project is led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth.

Professor Greaves said: “Offshore renewables is an exciting and rapidly expanding field, and we expect it to play a significant role in providing energy for the UK and globally. The UK is already at the forefront of research in this area, and the ORE Supergen Hub will provide leadership for the scientific community and enable it to continue to build on that expertise. Our advisory board will help ensure we are also meeting the requirements and addressing the challenges being faced by industry.”

The programme announced by the EPSRC also includes hubs focusing on Bioenergy and Energy Networks, and a new £1million solar energy network. In total, the four initiatives will involve academics from 19 universities and 70 stakeholder partners, including 22 from industry.

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.”


Date: 26 July 2018