PRIMRE/STEM/Research/Capstone Projects

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Marine Energy Research: Capstone Projects

The following table provides links to student marine energy research work. Click in the header cells below to sort the table columns. <p>The following table provides links to marine energy research reports from government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy. Click in the header cells below to sort the table columns.

To access more marine energy research, visit the Tethys database .

Title Author University Description Link to File
Wave Energy Task Force Jesse Holland, Jordon Cyr, and Duy Vo University of Maine The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been developing a concept for a near-shore oscillating surge wave energy converter (OSWEC) combined with control surfaces. The OSWEC is a fixed-bottom device, with the general concept being a flat plate attached to the sea floor by a hinge. The proposed design has flaps along the plate, which allows for variable geometry for varying sea-states, which can effectively reduce loading on the structure and allow for increased operation. With NREL support, the Wave Energy Task Force will be building their OSWEC design and testing the device in the Crosby wave tank at the University of Maine. A power take-off system will also be designed and constructed with the goal of optimizing performance and power capture and from the device. Link
Decision Analytical Models for the Sustainable Development of Marine Renewable Energy Negar Akbari University of Portsmouth This thesis presents a set of decision analytical models for the sustainable development of marine renewable energies (MREs) including offshore wind, tidal, and wave energy, with a case application for the United Kingdom. The MRE industry is a growing sector, which could significantly contribute to meeting the future energy demand and the realization of a low-carbon energy system. For the development of these technologies, a multi-dimensional approach that takes into account the environmental, social, economic, and technical factors is required. In this thesis, contributions are made toward the development of models that address the problems related to the efficiency assessment, evaluation of the infrastructure, and portfolio selection. Link
Adaptive Pitch Composite Blades for Axial-Flow Marine Hydrokinetic Turbines Ramona Brockman Barber University of Washington Marine hydrokinetic (MHK) turbines are quickly becoming a viable and valuable method of generating renewable energy from ocean, tidal, and river currents. Modern MHK turbine blades are typically constructed from fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, which provide superior strength- and stiffness-to-weight ratios and improved fatigue and corrosion resistance compared to traditional metallic alloys. Furthermore, it is possible to hydroelastically tailor the design of an FRP composite blade by manipulating the anisotropic nature of the material, creating a load-dependent adaptive pitch mechanism. With this strategy, the blade geometry is able to passively adjust to the instantaneous inflow, and system performance can be modified over the expected range of operating conditions. Adaptive blade designs have demonstrated the potential to increase performance, reduce hydrodynamic instabilities, and improve structural integrity in aerospace and other marine applications; however, previous research specific to adaptive MHK turbine blades has been preliminary. Further work is needed to better understand and model the behavior of these systems. To that end, the research presented here combines numerical and experimental modeling to develop greater insight into the potential benefits to be gained by the use of adaptive pitch MHK turbine blades. Link
Time-Domain Simulations of Marine Operations and Their Application to the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector Ben Hudson University of Edinburgh In the coming decades, offshore renewable energy is expected to play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of global electricity supply essential for limiting anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to an acceptable level. The cost of utilising expensive vessels to install and maintain these marine energy devices represents a significant proportion of their life-cycle cost and one of the major barriers to their continued development. It is vitally important to estimate accurately these costs and attempt to reduce them as much as possible. This thesis investigates the use of time-domain simulations of marine operations to estimate the likely duration and manage the inherent risks of an offshore project. Link
A Novel Mooring Tether for Highly Dynamic Offshore Applications David N. Parish University of Exeter The extreme conditions and the highly dynamic response of an MRE device present challenges in terms of peak loading within the mooring system itself and load transfer to the floating body. Compliant mooring systems provide advantages by reducing the peak loads and fibre ropes are an important asset in achieving such compliance. However, the extent to which existing fibre ropes can safely extend axially to provide compliance is insufficient and is strongly associated to the minimum breaking load of the rope. A novel fibre rope mooring tether is presented here that provides advantages over existing ropes. Link
Advanced Environmental Monitoring for Marine Renewable Energy Emma D. Cotter University of Washington One environmental risk of particular concern is that of collision between an animal and a marine energy converter, but conducting the requisite environmental monitoring to understand this risk has presented a challenge at marine energy sites around the world for several reasons. The methods developed for evaluation of the acoustic emissions of active acoustic sensors allow for effective comparison between transducers, which can be used to inform sensor selection and government regulation of their use. Link
Attitudes toward Marine Energy: Understanding the Values Jiska Reinarda de Groot University of Plymouth One factor influencing the implementation of MRE technologies is acceptance by people living near developments. This study investigated (i) attitudes toward MRE in small island communities as likely host communities for MRE developments; (ii) the underlying factors and values shaping these attitudes; (iii) how communities viewed MRE with regard to their place attachments; (iv) the inclusion of communities attitudes into MRE decision-making; and (v) contributions to policy and practice of MRE development. Link
Quantifying Benthic Secondary Productivity on Artificial Structures: Maximising the Benefit of Marine Renewable Energy Devices Sally Rouse University of Aberdeen The lack of suitable methodology, deployable at relevant scales within time and/or cost constraints, has limited benthic secondary productivity (BSP) quantifications on ARs. Techniques to measure potential BSP and particle flux were developed and applied to the Loch Linnhe Artificial Reef (functionally similar to scour protection material). Variations in BSP and mobile epifaunal densities on, and between, structures in different environments were quantified. Reefs exposed to intermediate current had the highest potential productivity. Link
Decision Support Model on Environmental Impact and Economic Evaluation for Marine Renewable Energy – Case Study on Penghu Archipelago Yu-chen Chang National Sun Yat-sen University This study applied environmental impact assessment (EIA) theory to compute the real value of all factors mentioned within marine renewable energy projects and cases. Using environmental CBA within decision support model, the study provides recommendations regarding future constructs, establishes EIA framework, and can be seen as a consultant to decision maker and stakeholders. Link
Determining Anchoring Systems for Marine Renewable Energy Devices Moored in a Western Boundary Current Michael Grant Seibert Florida Atlantic University Anchoring systems for marine renewable energy devices are examined for an area of interest off the coast of Southeast Florida that contains both ocean current and thermal resources for future energy extraction. Bottom types observed during previous regional benthic surveys are compiled and anchor performance of each potential anchor type for the observed bottom types is compared. A baseline range of environmental conditions is created by combining local current measurements and offshore industry standards. Link
Development of a Conceptual Model towards an Innovative Solution for Marine Energy Decision-Making Marcus Lange University College Cork The research objective was to develop a conceptual model that describes the different components of ME governance, with a focus on Ireland, with practical implications for governance in the future. This model was developed based on the analyses of case studies, including in-depth examples from the United States and Ireland. Given the understanding that transition from fossil fuels to renewables requires knowledge transfer and learning from past large-scale infrastructure development projects, and the way that stakeholders were engaged in such cases, case studies from both MRE and offshore oil and gas sectors were considered in the study. Each of the case studies illustrated different elements of marine energy governance, stakeholder analysis, policy framework analysis and literature analyses. Link
Ecosystem Approach of Marine Renewable Energy: Study of the Effects on the Food Web of the Construction of the Wind Farm off Courseulles-sur-Mer and the Cumulative Impact Aurore Raoux University of Caen Normandy As part of the energy transition, the French government is planning the construction of eight offshore wind farms along the Channel-Atlantic coast, including the future wind farm off Courseulles-sur-mer. To date, there is no comprehensive and integrated study of the effects of the construction and operation of these parks on the ecosystem. The main innovation of this thesis was therefore to lay the foundations of an ecosystem approach to Marine Renewable Energies (MRE) through the example of the future wind farm of Courseulles-sur-mer. Link
Energy Harvesting for Marine-Based Sensors Josh Davidson James Cook University This work examines powering marine based sensors (MBSs) by harvesting energy from their local environment. MBSs intrinsically operate in remote locations, traditionally requiring expensive maintenance expeditions for battery replacement and data download. Nowadays, modern wireless communication allows real-time data access, but adds a significant energy drain, necessitating frequent battery replacement. Harvesting renewable energy to recharge the MBSs battery, introduces the possibility of autonomous MBS operation, reducing maintenance costs and increasing their applicability. The thesis seeks to answer if an unobtrusive energy harvesting device can be incorporated into the MBS deployment to generate 1 Watt of average power. Link
Evaluating Biological Characteristics of Marine Renewable Energy Sites for Environmental Monitoring Lauren Eva Wiesebron University of Washington Because tidal technology is new, studies describing environmental change due to tidal devices are scarce, limiting the information that can be used to characterize environmental impacts for monitoring requirements. Extreme value analysis (EVA) was used to characterize infrequent values from monitoring studies that are potentially associated with impact, defined as relevant biological change as a consequence of human activity, at a tidal energy site. Link
Examining Potential Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Developments on Top Predators Evelyn Philpott University of Aberdeen This thesis uses data collected over three summers in 2010, 2011 and 2012 at the Isle of May National Nature Reserve, Scotland to examine top predator presence and behaviour in a moderately fast tidal stream site. The aim of the study was to examine the potential effects of marine renewable energy developments on top predator behaviour in a tidal stream site by addressing some of the key data gaps such as habitat use in tidal stream areas, dive behaviour and collision and disturbance risk assessment. Link
Fisheries, Marine Conservation, Marine Renewable Energy and Displacement: A Fresh Approach Maria Shauna Campbell University of Plymouth Fishers are among the biggest commercial resource users in the marine environment. In order to meet international, national and local policies, the UK has to designate a suite of marine protected areas (MPAs) and reach marine renewable energy targets. Inevitably, there will be conflict between these two industries and marine conservation. This study uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine evaluate the suitability of various sources of data, which could be used to detect, assess, and ultimately predict, fishing effort displacement within the different sectors of the > 15 m fleet in the South West of the UK. Link
Interdisciplinary Study into the Effect of a Marine Renewable Energy Testing Facility on the Underwater Sound in Falmouth Bay Joanne Katherine Garrett University of Exeter Wave energy has the potential to contribute considerably to the UK's energy mix. The marine environment is already subjected to many anthropogenic pressures. There is a need to develop the industry as sustainably as possible. A key concern is the potential for underwater noise to affect marine life. A wave energy converter (WEC; BOLT Lifesaver, Fred Olsen Ltd.) was deployed at the Falmouth Bay marine renewable energy test site (FaBTest). The underwater sound levels were recorded at this site for a two week baseline period, a five-day installation period and intermittent operational and non-operational activity from March 2012 - November 2013. Link
Investigating the Potential Effects of Marine Renewable Energy Developments on Seabirds Helen Mary Wade University of the Highlands and Islands Several MRED sites in Scotland are located in proximity to Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and draft marine SPAs designated specifically to safeguard important populations of seabirds. EU legislation requires that MREDs do not damage the integrity of protected seabird populations within SPAs. However, the potential effects of MREDs on seabirds are not yet fully understood. In this thesis, I aim to address gaps in knowledge regarding how MREDs may affect seabird populations. Link
Linear Generators for Direct Drive Marine Renewable Energy Converters Nicholas Jon Baker Durham University This thesis is concerned with the development of linear generators for use as the power take off mechanism in marine renewable energy converters. Delivering significant power at the low velocities demanded by wave and tidal stream energy converters requires a large force, which must be reacted by an electrical machine in a direct drive system. Attention is focused on the development of two novel topology linear permanent magnet machines suitable for use in this application. Link
Marine Renewable Energy Conversion: Grid and Off-Grid Modeling, Design and Operation Jonas Sjolte Norwegian University of Science and Technology The global energy production from renewable sources is increasing, with high penetration of both wind and solar in key regions. Ocean Wave Energy is projected to contribute with an increasing share of the future power supply, and the focus of this work is to investigate the requirements for connecting wave energy to the power grid, in context of the Fred. Olsen (FO) Wave Energy Project. Link
Multiscale Hydro-Environmental Modelling of Marine Renewable Energy Devices, with Particular Application to the Severn Barrage Samuel Bray Cardiff University This research study presents enhancements to the hydro-environmental model Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC), improving the predictive capabilities of the impacts of tidal range renewable proposals and dissolved phosphate concentrations in estuaries. Refinements to the representation of turbines and sluice gates, including updates to the discharge relationships used and momentum conservation were applied to the Severn Tidal Power Group’s Cardiff-Weston Barrage, providing an accurate assessment of the barrage’s potential impacts and highlighting the importance of correct hydraulic structure representation. Link
Numerical Modeling of the Effects of a Free Surface on the Operating Characteristics of Marine Hydrokinetic Turbines Samantha Jane Adamski University of Washington Marine hydrokinetic turbines are a growing area of research in the renewable energy field because tidal currents are a highly predictable clean energy source. The presence of a free surface may influence the flow around the turbine and in the wake, critically affecting turbine performance and environmental effects through modification of the wake physical variables. The characteristic Froude number that control these processes is still a matter of controversy, with the channel depth, the turbine's hub depth, the blade tip depth and the turbine diameter as potential candidates for a length scale. We use a Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulation with a Blade Element Theory model of the turbine and with a Volume of Fluid model, which is used to track the free surface dynamics, to understand the physics of the wake-free surface interactions. Link
Physical and Numerical Modelling of Marine Renewable Energy Technologies, with Particular Focus on Tidal Stream and Tidal Range Devices James Robert Brammer Cardiff University The past decade has seen a significant rise in the interest of deploying Marine Renewable Energy technologies. Tidal stream technology is developing rapidly, and developers are favouring horizontal axis turbines (HAT’s). However, vertical axis turbines are better suited for shallow waters, and higher efficiencies can potentially be gained by utilising shallow water blockage effects. The Severn Estuary is an ideal deployment area in this context. Additionally, due to a large tidal range the estuary has long been the subject of tidal barrage proposals. The original ebb-only STPG barrage has recently been superseded by a two-way generation scheme, therefore the need exists for renewed research into the hydrodynamic impacts of this proposal. Furthermore, little is known about the interaction between tidal range and tidal stream technologies, and if they could coexist in the Severn Estuary. This thesis uses physical and numerical modelling techniques to assess a range of MRE technologies, with particular focus on their deployment in the Severn Estuary. Link
Sonar for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Renewable Energy Technologies Francisco Francisco Uppsala University The main objective of this PhD project was to develop and test an active acoustic monitoring system for offshore renewable energy farms by integrating a multitude of appropriate monitoring sonar, hydrophones, and camera systems to be developed with standards suitable for subsea environmental monitoring. Link
The Marine Environment: An Acceptable Alternative to Land for Locating Renewable Energy Generation? Marc Goebbels Lincoln University In the context of the New Zealand Energy Strategy-target of 90% electricity generation from renewable energy by the year 2025, this dissertation analyses if the generally accepted statement that socio-economic factors and in particular planning procedures and public acceptance of individual schemes are a major limitation for the development of renewable energy projects, also applies in New Zealand. Moreover, it is analysed if a relocation of renewable power generation to the coastal and marine environment, in particular in form of offshore wind farms, could circumvent this obstacle. Therefore New Zealand’s spatial planning framework on land and in the marine environment is analysed using parts of the comparative policy analysis Link
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Renewables: Linking Concepts for Implementation. A Case Study from Scotland Alison Macdonald University of Aberdeen The law of the marine environment has evolved in a fragmentary, reactionary manner at international, European, and national levels. Drawing out the connections between different legal requirements and the processes, this thesis highlights how the concept of good environmental status (GES) objectifies the elements of the environment that must be considered in order to implement an ecosystem approach to marine management. At a Scottish level, this thesis discusses the law governing the marine renewable energy industry focusing on offshore wind to scrutinize whether the legislation that introduced marine spatial planning in Scottish waters (the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) can reconcile ambitious renewable energy targets while progressing toward achieving and maintaining good environmental status. Link
Advancing Marine Renewable Energy Monitoring Capabilities James Joslin University of Washington This thesis presents applied research underpinning the development of the Adaptable Monitoring Package (AMP) and Millennium Falcon deployment vehicle, a system that can widen the aperture of the observable environmental interactions at wave and current energy sites. The AMP and Millennium Falcon deployment vehicle provide a cabled, yet reconfigurable, instrumentation platform. Link
Experimental Study of Scour around Support Structures of Model Marine Hydrokinetic Devices Michael Anthony Volpe Bucknell University Experiments are presented to explore scour due to flows around support structures of model marine hydrokinetic (MHK) devices. Three related studies were performed to understand how submergence, scour condition, and the presence of an MHK device impact scour around the support structure (cylinder). Link
Modeling of Marine Renewable Energy Li Chen University of Bath This study focuses on developing a numerical procedure that can predict wave loads and run-up on fixed and moving offshore and coastal structures more accurately. The wave induced motions of flap-type wave energy converter (WEC) and its efficiencies are also investigated. The ultimate objectives of the study are to develop a rigorous approach for the safe and cost efficient design of general offshore structures and leading to the better design of wave energy converters with increased efficiency, and provide best practice guideline to the wave energy converter developers and researchers and engineers in the field. Link
The Role of Marine Renewable Energy Structures and Biofouling Communities in Promoting Self-Sustaining Populations of Non-Native Species Adrian Macleod University of Aberdeen Novel environments and biological communities created by the large-scale deployment of Marine Renewable Energy Devices (MREDs) have the potential to promote the spread of non-native species. Knowledge of how community composition resident on MREDs is shaped by geography, local hydrodynamics and the duration of deployment, will clarify how these technologies will interact with natural habitats, including the provision of suitable habitat for non-native species. A network of navigation buoys was used to study biofouling communities in areas proposed for MRED deployment. Link
Simulation Model of an Oscillating Water Column Power Plant and MPPT Controls Sang Won Seo, Lionel Mijangos, Robert Nance, Maddie Norman Auburn University This recorded session offers three presentations from graduate students enrolled in the Spring 2021 Renewable Energy in Electrical Power Systems class at Auburn University. The marine energy presentation begins at the 29:57 mark. The presentation provides an overview of the trend of ocean renewable energy and wave energy devices, the oscillating water column, wave surface dynamics, capture chamber dynamics, wells turbine dynamics, stalling behavior, MPPT control, simulation results, and conclusions. Link to video
Interactions Between Channel Topography and Hydrokinetic Turbines: Sediment Transport, Turbine Performance, and Wake Characteristics Craig Hill University of Minnesota Accelerating marine hydrokinetic (MHK) renewable energy development toward commercial viability requires investigating interactions between the engineered environment and its surrounding physical and biological environments. Complex and energetic hydrodynamic and morphodynamic environments desired for such energy conversion installations present difficulties for designing efficient yet robust sustainable devices, while permitting agency uncertainties regarding MHK device environmental interactions result in lengthy and costly processes prior to installing and demonstrating emerging technologies. A research program at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota, utilized multi-scale physical experiments to study the interactions between axial-flow hydrokinetic turbines, turbulent open channel flow, sediment transport, turbulent turbine wakes, and complex hydro-morphodynamic processes in channels. Link
Ecosystem Services and the Blue Economy: Navigating Power and Values Marleen Schutter Lancaster University Reconciling competing interests is a key challenge for environmental governance, especially in marine ecosystems, which are facing environmental pressures and high levels of human dependence. At the same time, there is increasing interest in oceans as a source of economic growth. Marine ecosystems are often characterised by legal plurality, which adds another challenge for effective governance. Marine ecosystems governance is therefore complex, and it has been proposed that interactive governance that aligns the values and principles of different governance actors is needed to address multiple interlinked, but sometimes also competing, goals and interests. This thesis sets out to develop a better understanding of the extent to which the evolving landscape of marine environmental governance contributes to aligning the values, worldviews, and images of the governing system with those of the system-to-be-governed. The thesis examines the blue economy and ecosystem services using different methods, from different angles, and at different scales. Link
Redesigning a Floating Foundation for Small Offshore Wind Installments Imhotep Khafre Lawrence, Carolina Nunes Hidalgo, Leon Schumm, Micha Sorel Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy This intern project was designed to create a conceptual design of floating construction for a wind turbine that can be produced in the Folkecenter’s workshop for showcasing purposes. The aim of the project was to build on other projects that explore the aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and FEM analyses, design optimization, manufacturing, and testing. Link