Tom Summers

EngD Project Title: Passive pitch blade systems research and lab testing for reducing loads on tidal turbines

Industrial Partner: HydroWing

Educational Background

I graduated from the University of Bristol in 2016 with a first-class MEng in Aeronautical Engineering. During my degree, I completed internships in both academia and industry, focussed mostly on the development and application of carbon fibre composite materials. Following graduation, I worked for the Bristol Composites Institute, supporting the development of high-performance pseudo-ductile composites. In 2017, I began the Teach First programme, and taught Science, Maths and Engineering in the Rhondda valley in South Wales until I began the IDCORE programme in 2021.

What attracted you to studying with IDCORE?

There are three main reasons why I the IDCORE programme was the ideal choice for me. Firstly, I wanted to use my skills and abilities to contribute towards the renewable energy industry’s effort to tackle climate change. Secondly, I chose the IDCORE programme because of the strong links and partnerships it has with offshore renewable energy companies, which means that the research I am currently doing has direct value for the industry. And finally, having been out of engineering for four years prior to beginning the programme, I benefitted hugely from the high-quality teaching was delivered during the first year of the programme; this enabled me to rebuild confidence in skills I hadn’t used since leaving engineering, as well as learning new ones relevant to the offshore renewables industry.

What attracted you to offshore renewables industry?/ What aspects of the industry do you find most inspiring, interesting or important for the future?

Once I had decided I wanted to move into the renewable energy sector, the offshore industry was the obvious choice because I love the sea, and couldn’t imagine living and working anywhere other than by the coast. I also wanted to work in tidal energy because now is an exciting time for the industry, with funding for tidal energy ring fenced in the latest round of bidding for Contracts for Difference. I am delighted, therefore, to have been partnered with HydroWing Ltd, a tidal developer based by the coast in the South West.

What ambition would you like to fulfil as a Research Engineer?

My research is primarily focussed on developing a passive pitch mechanism for the turbine blades used on the HydroWing device. This will reduce the loads on the blades in high flow conditions, allowing the use of larger turbines, which capture more power for a given flow speed.

IDCORE Research Engineer - Tom Summers
IDCORE Research Engineer - Tom Summers

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