SuperGen Marine Energy Research Consortium

Phase 2: October 2007 - September 2011

Work completed in SuperGen Phase 1 has enhanced understanding of the extent and nature of the marine resources, how extraction of energy modifies that resource and its environment, and has pointed to how technology could be developed to enhance the effective exploitation of energy. During the lifetime of Phase 1, a selection of developers has moved from concept to prototype development and this has identified specific needs for further fundamental research. UKERC and SuperGen Marine Phase 1 organised numerous national and international meetings of the stakeholder community to agree an R&D roadmap, and to develop Protocols on behalf of the DTI for open sea testing and performance evaluation. The sector participants in the UKERC Research Roadmap process identified many and varied long term needs. The research priorities proposed in SuperGen Marine Phase 2 build on experiences and questions arising from early device tests, the deployment of prototype devices, the UKERC R&D road-mapping and DTI Protocol processes, and the outcomes of the original work programme. The original overarching aims of the SuperGen Marine programme may be valid for some time, but the work completed and advice absorbed, has resulted in an evolution of the first of the original aims, now:

To increase knowledge and understanding of device-sea interactions of energy converters from model-scale in the laboratory to full size in the open sea.

Phase 2 of the programme includes work on: device arrays and how these will influence local and regional environmental conditions; radical design approaches, which take into account new philosophies of design guidance; ensuring that numerical and physical design support is consistent and robust; the challenges posed by design in mixed tidal and wave environments; system control in complex non linear and evolving environments; the complex challenges posed by fixing, mooring and recovery of marine systems; the economic challenges posed by the variable and intermittent nature of the marine resource; the sparse information available to predict and assess the long term reliability of marine energy systems and how an increased understanding of all of these issues can be best disseminated within the stakeholder community.

These objectives are divided among the following twelve research work streams (WSs):

WS1 Numerical and physical convergence
WS2 Optimisation of collector form & response
WS3 Combined wave and tidal effects
WS4 Arrays, wakes and near field effects
WS5 Power take-off and conditioning
WS6 Moorings and positioning
WS7 Advanced control/network integration
WS8 Reliability
WS9 Economic analysis of variability and penetration
WS10 Ecological Consequences of Tidal and Wave Energy Conversion
WS11 Doctoral Training Programme
WS12 Dissemination of Results