Dr Ampea Karikari-Boateng

EngD Thesis Title: Accelerated testing of tidal turbine main bearing in a full scale Nacelle Test Rig

Company/Organisation: Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

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

Educational background

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 was to develop testing methodology for tidal turbines. My work delivered a tidal turbine drivetrain model from which critical components and loads could be extracted. In addition to my main project, there were several opportunities for me to support relevant R&D projects which were being undertaken at ORE Catapult.

One main challenge of being placed in such a diverse and interesting environment as OREC is that the interest in other projects which are being carried out by colleagues could be distracting.

What is your biggest IDCORE achievement? 

Presenting a conference paper at EWTEC 2013 was one of the highlights of my time with IDCORE. In addition, my time at OREC has given me the opportunity to contribute to FP7 projects.

Experience with IDCORE

My experience with IDCORE was great. I quite liked the fact that the program did not strictly adhere to technical engineering topics but involved 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 could 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 OREC were very enlightening. Through IDCORE, I began to realise some of my dreams of contributing to the advancement of the offshore renewable energy industry by participating in testing activities at OREC.

Ampea Karikari-Boateng, IDCORE Research Engineer
Ampea Karikari-Boateng, IDCORE Research Engineer

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