B2 - Novel device concepts - rethinking the mechanism of energy extraction

B - Fluid-structure Seabed Interaction

Status - published
Last updated on: 21/03/2022


Established devices are already optimised so have minimal opportunity to produce a performance step change; Limit of Economic Viability of Devices


Novel concepts, e.g. alternative turbine forms or wave harvesting devices, offer a disruptive step forward; To design to lower (for instance) the velocity of flow whilst achieving economic viability

Context And Need

A step change in cost reduction may only come from the development of novel technologies and new ideas for renewable energy generation. This can apply to all of ORE, where larger novel turbines may displace the conventional 3-bladed horizontal axis turbine (whether in wind or tidal). In wind, wave and tidal there is considerable scope for new disruptive concepts, if they can be conceived.

The areas for deployment would/could be expanded considerably by driving down the lower limits of the resource.

To date, extreme conditions have been researched but not necessarily the lower limits which has a very different challenge


Reducing the economic viability opens the potential for device deployment in UK; South America etc.

Impact Potential

The impact potential could be very significant. In order to displace existing technology there would need to be substantial CAPEX and OPEX advantages, perhaps through economies of scale at device level. The impact should be balanced against the difficulty in conceiving a novel concept.

Research Status

Research required.


Active research projects:

  • LiftWEC H2020 (Grant 851885): The LiftWEC project involves the development of a novel wave energy converter whose primary coupling with the waves is through the generation of hydrodynamic lift on a rotating hydrofoil. This will be achieved by a combination of numerical/physical modelling and desk-based studies of the structural design, the operational & maintenance requirements and the environmental/social impacts of the technology.


Supergen ORE Hub - Flexible Fund Research

  • Impact of in-service oscillatory movement on insulation reliability of AC and DC cables serving offshore platforms
    Lead Institution: University of Manchester
    Offshore wind energy is central to UK’s ambition of reducing carbon emissions. Traditional fixed foundation wind farms have limitations due to their surrounding environment and congestion, whereas floating platforms provide utilisation of deeper waters and increased capacity, for example in the North Sea. The Floating Wind Joint Industry Project Report 2018 identified cables to be at the heart of priority innovation needs. Typically, cable assets contribute to 5-10% of the total investment costs for an offshore wind farm. However, cable failures cause the majority of the offshore power outages and account for approximately 80% of insurance claims in this industry. The hypothesis explored in this proposal is that repeated flexing of a cable significantly reduces the cable’s life expectancy through repeated extension and compression of the polymeric dielectric. In particular, the impact of dynamic strain on a failure mechanism known as electrical tree growth will be explored. Electrical trees are microscopic tree-like voids which grow inside the insulation that eventually lead to catastrophic asset failure. The project will work closely with ORE Catapult’s dynamic cable bend fatigue rig team in Blyth, to conduct the test trial combining the mechanical flexing and electrical treeing concurrently.
  • Submerged bi-axial fatigue analysis for flexible membrane Wave Energy Converters
    Lead Institution: Swansea University
    Flexible membrane wave energy converters (mWECs) need novel elastomeric materials of high fatigue life that have reliable data. We will obtain submerged bi-axial fatigue data for novel graphene and carbon nanotube filled elastomers. mWECs have potential for significant cost reduction compared with rigid material WECs. Elastomeric composite membrane structures can simplify all aspects of WEC design including the primary mover, power take-off (PTO), and other sub-systems. The bottlenecks to their practical and large-scale commercial applications are twofold, polymers with small amounts of standard filler particles have low fatigue life; higher percentage filler creates unwanted energy dissipation during cyclic loadings. Additionally, most material data exists for uni-axial fatigue in ‘dry’ conditions. Therefore, we aim to synthesize ultra-low dissipative and high fatigue life filled polymers with the required stiffness to be used in flexible polymeric structures for wave energy. In this project, enhanced properties will be achieved by using a synergy of carbon black, graphene, and carbon nanotube within low dissipative natural rubbers (NR). One advantage of NR are the existing manufacturing routes for full scale, ensuring scalability for mWEC manufacture. A novel two part method: firstly material synthesis and characterisation through classical ‘dry’ experiments and secondly a brand new, state of the art, test facility for bi-axial fatigue in temperature controlled seawater will be used to bi-axially characterize fatigue life and dissipative properties to deliver trustworthy material data to enable new WEC designs.


We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape


PhD projects in Offshore Renewable Energy

In order to better understand the breadth of ORE research currently being conducted in the UK, the Supergen ORE Hub has collated from its academic network, UK Centres for Doctoral Training and Industrial partners, a list of PhDs currently being undertaken in ORE.

Access a PDF of the list and find out more about including your PhD.

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