Environmental Engineering Research Centre
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

THEME 1 - COASTAL AND HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING

To date MRE has secured key funding from 2009-2014 of £2 360 000

The two main areas of growth in Marine Renewable Energy are tidal stream devices and the environmental impact of marine renewables on coastal processes. Work on wave power systems will continue both in the laboratory utilising the two wave tank facilities and at prototype scale jointly with companies such as Aquamarine Power and Wavegen. A key area of research will support the development of numerical models which will predict the impact of wave power device arrays on coastal processes. The new wide wave tank facility at Portaferry with its cross current capability will be key to this work. This facility also provides the capacity to study natural coastal processes.

As one of the flagship interdisciplinary projects of the Institute for a Sustainable World, EERC and Biological Sciences, the Marine Laboratory at Portaferry is becoming a World Center of Excellence for testing marine turbines at prototype and model scaleEnvironmental monitoring of the MCT 1.2MW machine in Strangford narrows is a world first and is providing essential information for the large scale development of this type of technology.   During the next 12 months it is planned to build a second tank facility at Portaferry which will enable aquatic plants to be subjected to reciprocating and steady state flow at full-scale and are representative of the effects of storm waves and string tidal currents.  The novel design of this facility will be a world first and will enable research which has not been accomplished before at this scale.

A second machine, being developed by Oceanflow Energy is current under test and it is anticipated that that this type of work will expand and fundamental hydraulic work taking place in parallel will inform the design of future machines.  This will build on our extensive knowledge of propeller modeling and will be supported by laboratory work which utilise the laser measurement equipment in which the university invested a few years ago.