Project title: Development and Validation of Full Scale Lab based Tidal Turbine Drive Train 'Accelerated Life Time' Testing Methodologies.
Company/Organisation: National Renewable Energy Centre UK (Narec)
Industrial supervisor: Dr Chong Ng
Academic supervisors: Professor Lars Johanning (University of Exeter), Professor Markus Mueller (University of Edinburgh), Professor Nigel Barltrop (University of Strathclyde)
Programme start: January 2012
Industrial Project start: September 2012
I have always been interested in engineering since I was young. I spent a lot of time taking things apart to find out how they work and of course putting them back together (sometimes, ok rarely). This led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. I hold an MEng in Mechanical Engineering from Queen Mary University of London.
What were you doing prior to this programme?
I joined the IDCORE after graduation from my Master’s studies.
What attracted you to studying with IDCORE?
I became interested in research during my undergraduate studies. As a graduate with no industrial experience, IDCORE offered the best opportunity to gain industrial experience while carrying out cutting-edge research. In addition, IDCORE being run by a consortium widens the level of resources available to research engineers .
What attracted you to offshore renewables industry? / What aspects of the industry do you find most inspiring, interesting or important for the future?
When I became aware of the EU’s ambitious renewable energy targets I became committed to helping the UK meet its obligations. I was introduced to and was inspired to engage in the offshore renewable industry by a friend who reviewed the progress of wave and tidal energy for his final year project. Given that the industry is still in its infancy, I believe there a countless opportunities to contribute to the advancement in the technologies.
Across the industry, reliability is critical to the long term success of all the offshore renewable technologies. I am somewhat proud and content that my research directly influences the reliability of offshore renewable devices. I believe that in the future when a high level of reliability is achieved, further focus will be placed on finding more efficient and economical ways of transporting energy created in remote offshore locations and will be a big topic for discussion and research.
Main responsibilities and challenges as a Research Engineer
The overall aim of my project is to develop testing methodology for tidal turbines. My work will deliver a tidal turbine drivetrain model from which critical components and loads can be extracted. In addition to my main project, there are several opportunities for me to support relevant R&D projects which are being undertaken at Narec.
One main challenge of being placed in such a diverse and interesting environment as Narec is that the interest in other projects which are being carried out by colleagues can be distracting.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Presenting a conference paper at EWTEC 2013 has been one of the highlights of my time with IDCORE. In addition, my time at Narec has given me the opportunity to contribute to FP7 projects.
What ambition would you like to fulfil as a Research Engineer?
One of my long term goals is to help eradicate most of the reliability problems in the offshore renewable industry, tidal and offshore wind in particular. While with the IDCORE, my aim is to identify key components which influence reliability of tidal turbines drivetrains and develop a method to test these components to demonstrate their reliability over the lifetime of a device.
Experience with IDCORE so far
My experience with IDCORE so far has been great. I quite like the fact that the program has not strictly adhered to technical engineering topics but involves wide ranging aspect of offshore renewable energy. In fact, I felt highly empowered after taking the second year summer school in Oban, because it demonstrated how I can contribute to advancing the offshore renewable industry through other means such as social interaction.
Do you have any other comments, interesting facts or stories to share?
Getting involved with some of the activities which go on in Narec has been very enlightening. Through IDCORE, I have begun to realise some of my dreams of contributing to the advancement of the offshore renewable energy industry by participating in testing activities in Narec.