Project title: Modelling and Optimisation of Pelamis Wave Power’s O&M Strategy
Company/Organisation: Pelamis Wave Power
Industrial supervisor: Beth Dickens
Academic supervisors: Dr Lars Johanning (University of Exeter), Dr Tom Bruce (University of Edinburgh), Dr Evangelos Boulougouris (University of Strathclyde)
Programme start: September 2012
Industrial Project start: June 2013
My A levels were in Maths, History and Chemistry and with those I went to Cardiff University to study Civil Engineering. I graduated with a Masters degree in 2011. My dissertation was to design an economic and efficient solar power system for a block of flats.
What were you doing prior to this programme?
I was in Cardiff studying part-time for an MSc in Sustainable Energy and the Environment, whilst also working part-time as a Design Engineer for a local solar panel manufacturer.
What attracted you to studying with IDCORE?
I was searching for potential PhDs when I came across the IDCORE programme. What immediately caught my attention was that the EngD allows you to carry out significant research in the industry, whilst gaining vital experience of working in an office environment, thus increasing your employability. The way that an EngD aims to help you become an engineering professional with a wide set of skills was also a major attraction for me.
What attracted you to offshore renewables industry? What aspects of the industry do you find most inspiring, interesting or important for the future?
I believe that I am working in a hugely important industry that is vital in preserving the environment. Clearly, there is a big push towards renewables as public opinion turns more and more against coal and gas fired power stations; I will never be short of job offers! Working offshore also presents a major challenge that I look forward to.
Main responsibilities and challenges as a Research Engineer
Working with the O&M model at Pelamis, my main role is to investigate inaccuracies, upgrade the model with certain features, and eventual optimise the maintenance strategy for a series of wave farms. My main challenge so far has been figuring out exactly how the model code works.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I gave a presentation about maintenance on the Pelamis device at an Energy CDT conference in September 2013.
What ambition would you like to fulfil as a Research Engineer?
For wave farms to be viable, the associated costs must reduce. As O&M accounts for a significant part of the total cost of any offshore development, it is important than maintenance strategies are optimised. My goal is to see multi-megawatt wave farms deployed in Scottish waters that use the maintenance strategy that my model has created.
Experience with IDCORE so far
I have thoroughly enjoyed the IDCORE programme and have made some great friends. The taught part of the course was a big challenge, quite stressful at times, but helped me gain so much more engineering knowledge. I am very much looking forward to progressing with my research project.
Do you have any other comments, interesting facts or stories to share?
The summer schools and other events are great for meeting up with my IDCORE friends whom I have not seen in a while; we always take a football along for a cheeky game of keepie-ups during the breaks!