Low carbon technologies

The Economic Prospects of a Power Hub in the North Sea

Student: Connor Duffy

Supervisors: Dr Iain Staffell, Centre for Environmental Policy, Mr Oliver Schmidt, Centre for Environmental Policy

This project explores the concept of constructing an artificial island on the Dogger Bank to facilitate integration of large-scale, far from shore wind farms. High-voltage alternating current (HVAC) cables are used for power transmission from wind farms to the island while high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cables connect the island to surrounding countries’ electricity grids. During times of reduced output from the wind farms there is scope to use these HVDC links as interconnectors.

A techno-economic study on high altitude wind energy globally

Student: Ervin Duva

Supervisors: Dr Kate Ward, Centre for Environmental Policy, Dr Iain Staffell, Centre for Environmental Policy

I am currently developing a techno economic model to assess the potential deployment of wind resources at higher altitudes compared to the altitudes reachable by conventional wind turbines. The study involves a technological review of airborne devices, and a stimulation of their techno-economic performance in more than 30 locations globally. This feasibility study, is unique in it's kind as it incorporates high resolution meteorological data and the current technology developments and concepts. Therefore it could potentially underpin the true prospect of airborne wind energy.

Economic optimisation of tidal lagoon operation

Student: Freddie Harcourt

Supervsiors: Professor Matthew Piggott, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Professor Graham Hughes, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr Athanasios Angeloudis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tidal range generation is more akin to hydro power than other renewables since it can, within certain constraints, control the timings and duration of generations. This report addressed this by optimising tidal lagoon operation to generate significantly more energy. Additionally, the work explored optimising lagoon operation for maximum income from electricity markets; targeting generating at times when prices are highest. In essence, quantifying the value of viewing a tidal lagoons and barrages as flexible generation. The Swansea Bay lagoon has been used as a case study to analyse the effects of optimising operation to generate more energy and income; showing the potential reductions in subsidy requirements and strike price that can be made.

Cost Drivers in HVDC Offshore Wind Transmission: Optimisation of the HVDC converter platform

Student: Cristina Hernandez Pereira

Supervisors: Dr Marios Christou, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr Johannes Spinneken, Evergreen Innovations, Jose Ortiz de Lanzagorta, Evergreen Innovations

New offshore windfarm projects are moving towards locations further offshore and HVDC transmission is being proposed as a cost-effective alternative to AC. The aim of this project is to optimise the aerodynamic design of one of the most expensive elements of HVDC transmission, the offshore converter platform, in order to reduce the wind load and minimise the overall costs of the installation.

A systematic review of costing Gen 3 and Gen 4 nuclear reactors

Student: Dimitris Mantzakis

Supervisors: Professor Scott Williamson-Owens, DBD

Small modular Reactors (SMR) are an emerging technology that promises to overcome some of the challenges associated with conventional reactors. The main advantage is that they can be manufactured and installed easier than conventional reactors, but they face a big challenge to be part of the Nuclear sector. Due to the high capital costs of Nuclear power plants, assessing the relative costs of new generating plants is a complex and expensive matter. Nuclear power plants are expensive to build and decommission, having a high degree of uncertainty on cost estimations. Safety and waste management are the main issues but they are relatively cheap to run with a small carbon footprint compared to other sources of energy. For this reason, the new Gen Nuclear reactors need to be designed in a way that can both reduced the Capital costs and make better estimations and at the same time improve waste management and safety. This thesis is focused on the different methodologies used to estimate the costs for Gen 3 reactors (Pressurized water reactors - PWR) with respect to Gen 4 reactors (SMR) and compare the differences in their life cycle costs, from Uranium mining, to reactor design, to decommissioning.

Condition-based maintenance of offshore wind turbines: The potential of SCADA data in normal behaviour modelling

Student: Sofia Walker Saez

Supervisors: Professor Matthew Piggott, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Dr James Percival, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Yorgos Deskos, Department of Aeronautics

The reduction of Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs is a key objective in the offshore wind industry. Condition-based maintenance can help to achieve this target, by optimising maintenance strategies to avoid unnecessary visits to the wind farm and reduce downtime. This project aims to analyze the potential of SCADA data in normal behaviour modelling and fault prognosis, with the help of machine learning techniques. A Neural Network has been built in Python to simulate the behaviour of offshore wind turbine components and predict failures due to wear and fatigue.

Spatial optimisation of tidal lagoons

Student: Kristian Wood

Supervisors: Professor Matthew Piggott, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Dr Athanasios Angeloudis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor Graham Hughes, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

This thesis aims to explore how tidal lagoons can be spatially optimised, both in regards to their location within an estuarine channel and also their shape and orientation. Using a 2-dimensional coastal and estuarine flow solver, coupled with a 0-dimensional model, the expected power output, cost/revenues and hydrodynamic effects can be assessed for different designs: The aim being to find a suitable balance between these aspects and establish designs that perform on both the environmental and economic fronts.