Wind energy experts at the University are to take part in two innovative research projects to support the reduction of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.
The team will work with partners from across the UK on Projects Nova and Helm Wind to design cutting-edge wind turbines for use off-shore.
The two projects were among four announced today by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) as part of a potential £1.1 billion fund. The ETI is a unique partnership between global industries and the UK Government, with the ultimate aim of providing the public with more affordable, low carbon electricity.
Professor Bill Leithead (pictured left) of the University's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: "This is an incredibly exciting time to work in the renewable energy sector and we are pleased to be involved in two of the four projects announced by the ETI today.
"With our partners, we will be investigating how to create bigger, more effective wind turbines specifically for off-shore deployment. The larger size of the wind turbines will enable greater exploitation of the wind energy resource.
"At the same time, we want to create technology that is cost effective and extremely reliable to keep off-shore maintenance to an absolute minimum.
"The two projects are very different technically, but both aim to address the fundamental challenges of climate change."
About the projects:
Project Nova: Aims to assess the feasibility of a unique wind turbine with a pair of giant vertical wings, which has the benefit of ruggedness, stability and simpler maintenance access, compared to the horizontal axis concept of conventional turbines. The UK based consortium is led by Guildford energy specialists OTM Consulting and includes representatives from Strathclyde and two other universities - Cranfield and Sheffield - as well as the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS) and SME Wind Power. Key sub-contractors include James Ingram Associates and QinetiQ.
Project Helm Wind: Aims to deliver a concept design and feasibility study for a new, off-shore specific wind farm and seeks to overcome the issues facing today's systems including turbine reliability, and accessing equipment for maintenance. The UK-based consortium is led by E.ON Engineering and includes representatives from Rolls-Royce, BP Alternative Energy and the University.
The news comes just weeks after the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) awarded the University more than £5 million funding to set up a Doctoral Training Centre in wind energy. Fifty PhD studentships will be available at Strathclyde over five years to help create the new wave of highly skilled professionals needed to help tackle Britain's energy challenges.
The UK's target for 2050 is an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels covering all sectors of the economy, including shipping and aviation. To help deliver that, 15 per cent of energy should come from renewable sources by 2020.
Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said: "There is great potential for the UK to harness wind and tidal power to produce renewable energy. These ETI projects will look to turn that potential into reality.
"The Government has put record investment into science, including our funding for the ETI. Their work is crucial to achieving a green revolution in Britain and we'll be supporting those growth industries and next-generation technologies where we have a clear global impact.
"This is also science and engineering at its most exciting. It's precisely the kind of challenge we can use to encourage girls and boys to study the STEM projects at school and then university."
Dr David Clarke, the ETI's Chief Executive Officer, said: "The projects being announced today will demonstrate new technologies which can deliver significant cost savings compared to current renewable energy sources.
"Through the skills, capabilities and market access of our members, we have the potential to deploy new technologies on a mass scale. Rapid, widespread deployment is critical if we are to address effectively the challenges of climate change."
Nick Winser, National Grid's Executive Director for Transmission & Co-chair for the UK Energy Research Partnership, said: "innovation and the rapid introduction of improved technologies and energy systems are critical if we are to meet the UK target for reducing CO2 emissions and deliver affordable energy to customers.
"The first ETI projects are a key part of the development of a new energy network for the UK. Our major investment programme in the UK electricity network, around £850 million this year alone, is a key part of enabling these projects to be rapidly rolled out as commercial generators following their initial developments."
The first four projects announced by the ETI today - Projects Nova, Helm Wind, Deepwater Turbine, and ReDAPT, will receive funding totaling approximately £20 million.
The funding for the projects comes from the six current private sector partners - BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell. The ETI's public funds are received from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) through the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) with additional funding from the Department for Transport.
13 January 2009