Our research focusses on four key sources of renewable energy- water energy, wind energy, solar energy, and bio energy. Our skills range from technical concept evaluation, device modelling, scale testing, control optimization, condition monitoring and design assessment, through to environmental impact modelling and economic evaluation.
We have a long track record of generic and applied research into extracting power from waves and have developed a wide range of devices, from inception to scaled testing in our excellent wave tank facilities. We are currently investigating the potential of multi-axis wave energy converters that could improve power capture for a new generation of devices.
Our research focuses on devices for tidal stream energy generation. One of our latest projects is investigating multi-element high-lift devices. These devices will offer significantly improved operational performance, improving the overall energy yield in both spring and neap tidal cycles. We are also involved with a number of regional tidal barrage proposals.
Hydro-power turbines produce one fifth of the entire world's electricity and our research focusses on the exploitation of hydropower by converting water pressure into air pressure, which allows the use of much smaller, less-expensive turbines running in air. These turn much faster than the water turbines that would otherwise be used, eliminating the need for a step-up gearbox to drive the generator.
The system under development uses siphons, bridging the weir or barrage. The aeration of the water makes the system attractive for use in water treatment plants. For example, we are applying our research and looking at the economic and technical issues of hydro sites in the northwest.
Our research ranges from wind turbine probabilistic multi-disciplinary design based on aeroelasticity and stress codes and the blade-element momentum theory to advanced wind turbine aerodynamic analyses and design through the development and deployment of cutting-edge Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technologies based on high-performance computing (HPC).
We develop and use in our daily research activities unique numerical technologies for the analysis and design of horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs), vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs), and also oscillating wing hydrokinetic turbines, a fairly new device for extracting energy from wind and also tidal streams.
We also focus on wind turbine condition monitoring for reliable and predictable operation of wind farms including the grid connections, working with industry partners including TNEI, Wind Prospect, ALSTOM power and major wind turbine manufacturers in China.
Our research focuses on fundamental science to support the development of energy production devices. For example, enhanced light harvesting structures for improved photoexcitation in silicon solar cells, and photon management techniques for better sunlight capture and concentration.
Lancaster is also world-leading in quantum dot research and this is currently being exploited to investigate materials and devices for solar and waste heat electricity and direct solar hydrogen production. Industrial partners include U2T Photonics, Kittiwake Procal, Alcatel Thales, QinetiQ, Wafer Technology, Pilkington, NPower, Tata Steel, IQE semiconductors.
Our biomass research focusses on two areas.
The first based in the Engineering Department and is focussed on achieving a better understanding of the effects of fuel variability and its influence on the utilisation of renewable biogas and biosyngas. With many of the largest existing fossil-fuelled power stations now turning to biofuels as cost-effective and low-carbon alternatives to oil and coal, the research emphasis is switching to whether these fuels show long-term compatibility with existing combustion systems, and as to what the most efficient use of them might be. This research looks at the kinetic and species transport using national supercomputer facilities supported by EPSRC via the SUPERGEN Bioenergy Challenge programme and the EPSRC UK Consortium on Turbulent Reacting Flows (UKCTRF).
Knowledge Transfer Partnership with United Utilities Water
We have also worked with United Utilities Water (UU), part of United Utilities Group PLC, through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to investigate the issues involved in the production and application of BIOSORBENT, a novel microbial method for the removal of waste from sewage, which uses less energy than existing activated sludge treatments.
For more information see www.engineering.lancs.ac.uk/lureg
- Dr Alona Armstrong
- Dr George Aggidis (Water Energy)
- Dr Lefteris Danos (Solar Energy)
- Dr Manus Hayne
- Dr Qiandong Zhunag
- Dr Sergio Campobasso (Wind Energy)
- Dr Steve Quayle
- Dr Suz Ilic
- Dr Xiandong Ma
- Professor Kirk Semple
- Professor Kirk Semple (Bioenergy)
- Professor Tony Krier
- Professor Xi Jiang