Sustainable Power is one of the research themes under which Energy Futures Lab organises its activity and the energy research being done at the College.
Low carbon energy has already grown to significant fraction of electricity generation in many nations but the imperative remains to improve performance and drive down cost.
As a world leading institution in the field Imperial has a rich portfolio of basic and applied research in a wide range technolgies giving us a diverse portfolio relevant to all regions of the world.
These are a selection of the projects being done under the Sustainable Power theme at the College.
Farming the Environment into the Grid: Big data in Offshore Wind
The Farming the Environment into the Grid: Big data in Offshore Wind project (FENGBO) is an international collaboration using Big Data to create a new generation of computing tools that will support the design and operation of offshore wind farms.
The team are using big data to build computational tools to help design wind farms to get the best out of any particular site. Their work will help determine:
- Impact of local conditions on building wind turbines
- The optimal turbines for the location
- The optimal layout of the windfarm
High Temperature, High Efficiency PV-Thermal Solar System
MAXimizing wind Farm Aerodynamic Resource via advanced Modelling
The MAXimizing wind Farm Aerodynamic Resource via advanced Modelling project (MAXFARM) is building an integrated multi-scale approach to the computational modelling of wind farms. The team's ultimate goal is to reduce the cost of generating energy from offshore wind. This will be acheieved by creating better computer models to inform future operational decisions to maximize power output and the operational life of wind farms.
The project is a collaboration between three UK Universities, three Government agencies and six Companies. It is being led at Imperial College London by Dr Rafael Palacios of the Department of Aeronautics. The project received £1,476,695 of funding from EPSRC and will run from November 2015 to November 2018.
Tidal energy operational and spatial planning optimisation
The tidal energy operational and spatial planning optimisation project is investigating the environmental and ecological impacts of new, larger tidal developments to support by stakeholders. The team are working on improving the computational methods of quantifying the environmental impacts of tidal projects.
The project is led by Dr Athanasios Angeloudis in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering and is funded through a NERC Industrial Innovation fellowship, which was supported by Energy Futures Lab.
Pile Soil Analysis
The Pile Soil Analysis project (PISA) is a joint industry project led by Ørsted. The team are investigating and developing improved design methods for laterally loaded piles, specifically tailored to the offshore wind sector. The team are using of numerical finite element modelling to develop the new design method and these are validated through a campaign of large scale field tests.
- Advanced characterisation of two pile test sites
- Advanced, site specific, 3D FE analyses of laterally loaded monopiles.
Control of flexible structures and fluid-structure interactions
- Developing advanced modelling and analysis tools suitable for control of flexible structures, possibly subject to fluid-structure interactions, as well as structure and passivity preserving model reduction.
- Developing powerful control design methods for the models arising from this research
- Applying the techniques developed on innovative engineering solutions.
Axial-Lateral Pile Analysis for Chalk Applying multi-scale field and laboratory testing
The Axial-Lateral Pile Analysis for Chalk Applying multi-scale field and laboratory testing project(ALPACA) is conducting research into piles for wind turbines, oil platforms, ports and bridges. The team's focus is on improving designs to overcome the issues around piles in chalk.
Led by Professor Richard Jardine of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the project recieved £1,121,309 of funding from EPSRC and the partners include Oxford University and 11 Companies working in the area. It runs from October 2017 to March 2020.
Providing a Nuclear Fuel Cycle in the UK for Implementing Carbon Reductions
The Providing a Nuclear Fuel Cycle in the UK for Implementing Carbon Reductions project(PACIFIC) is a multi-discipline programme that supports a future nuclear fuel cycle in the UK. The team are researching the manufacture, performance, and recycle of current and advanced nuclear fuels.
The academic lead at Imperial is Professor Robin Grimes of the Department of Materials. The project received £3,053,898from EPSRC, includes 12 UK Universities and three Companies as partners and will run from June 2014 to June 2018.
SweetGen is a spinout company using a non-biological process to convert the waste water created by the food and biofuel industries into low cost electricity.
The system cleans waste water while generating electricity by harnessing sugar-like molecules dissolved in water to produce energy. It produces electricity using 100 times less space than competing solutions, such as creating biogas from biomass, a shipping container-sized system can treat 50 cubic metres an hour. The team are using a newly developed family of low-cost catalytic materials, which are less affected by other pollutants in the water so don’t lose their effectiveness
Dense energy carriers by electrochemical and photo-electrochemical reduction of CO2
The Dense energy carriers by electrochemical and photo-electrochemical reduction of CO2 project is a four year collaboration between the College and Shell.
The project's aim is to harvest and store solar energy in fuels, for subsequent conversion to electrical energy in solid oxide fuel cells, obviating solar intermittency and decarbonising electrical power. The initial work focusses on fabricating prototype photo-electrochemical reactors, in which absorbed solar energy drives useful chemical reactions.
The work at Imperial is led by Professor Geoff Kelsall, Professor Milo Shaffer and Professor Nilay Shah is funded by Shell’s Long Range Research Programme and runs from October 2017 to September 2021.
Maximising the Carbon Impact of Wind Power
The Maximising the Carbon Impact of Wind Power projectis investigating the impact of wind farms on the UK’s carbon emissions. The team are examining the relationship between wind farms and national carbon emissions in order to maximise the savings they provide. They are trying to identify whether changes in policy or industry practice could make wind power more effective in displacing carbon emissions, and hence more cost-effective in decarbonising the UK.
Led by Professor Richard Green of Imperial College Business School, the project received £235,740 of funding from EPSRC, is working with partners in the Committee on Climate Change, the Energy Research Partnership and National Grid. It ran from November 2015 to April 2018.
Bentonite Mechanical Evolution
The Bentonite Mechanical Evolution project (BEACON) is working on the development of engineered solutions for the management of high-level radioactive waste. The team are focussing on the implementation of first-of-their-kind geological repositories.
The work is investigating a buffer material in nuclear waste-filled canisters that is expected to mechanically evolve over time and seal the repository, thus preventing the long-term leakage of radioactive nucleoids into the surrounding ground.
The project is funded under the H2020 EURATOM programme.