Imperial College London

New project to improve offshore wind farms funded

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Vestas V-80 Offshore Wind Turbines, 2.0 MW image courtesy the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Researchers from the Department of Aeronautics are part of a new project to improve the performance of the UK's offshore wind farms.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have announced the funding of MAXFARM, a three-year project to improve the reliability, lifespan and efficiency of offshore wind farms. The consortium includes researchers from Imperial College London’s Department of Aeronautics alongside other academic institutions and a number of commercial partners.

The UK is committed to significant decarbonisation to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets by 2050. To meet this the country will need to harness a wide range of renewable energy and offshore wind is one of the UK’s greatest resources in this regard. MAXFARM (MAXimizing wind Farm Aerodynamic Resource via advanced Modelling) will bring together researchers from different academic disciplines in order to improve offshore wind farms so they can help meet the future needs of the UK electricity sector.

MAXFARM aims to build an integrated multi-scale approach to the computational modelling of wind farms. Better computer models will inform future operational decisions to maximize power output and the operational life of these facilities. The ultimate goal of the project is reducing the cost of generating energy from offshore wind. This will require expertise in many areas to create a proper holistic view of the problem. This collaborative project has researchers with expertise in aerodynamics, meteorology, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. The group also includes partners from the commercial sector to combine the academic rigour with commercial nous.

Dr Rafael Palacios is the lead researcher at Imperial, “This is a very interesting project for me. A lot of my work has been on integrated aeroelastic modelling of highly-efficient aircraft and it will be great to apply these techniques to help solve problems in the energy sector.”

MAXFARM will start in November 2015 with nearly £1.5M funding from EPSRC. The full list of partners is Imperial College London, University of Surrey, Loughborough University, University of Strathclyde, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, BMT Fluid Mechanics Ltd, DNV GL Energy, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Renewable Energy Systems Ltd, Satellite Applications Catapult, SgurrEnergy Ltd, Zenotech Ltd and ZephIR Lidar.

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Neasan O'Neill

Neasan O'Neill
Faculty of Engineering

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 7044
Email: n.oneill@imperial.ac.uk

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