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University of Dundee driving wind energy research project

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015   Category: All Graduate Jobs News

Academics from the University of Dundee will be at the forefront of a major research project into developments in the wind renewables sector.

The study should determine whether foundations for offshore wind turbines could be more effective, environmentally friendly and even cheaper.

Funded by a £1 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the project will consider the viability of using screw piles for offshore installations.

Such techniques are already used onshore and occur when foundations are screwed into the ground – including for motorway signs or gantries for example.

Dr Mike Brown, senior lecturer in Civil Engineering at the University of Dundee, is leading the project and said the UK has challenging targets for the expansion of the renewable energy sector.

He spoke of the potential for more than 5000 offshore turbines to be installed in the next five years, but said this expansion would “put greater demands on subsea structures and foundations”.

As a result, the project is set to identify new techniques that could make the process more affordable while offering better solutions to increase capacity.

“Screw piles are potentially very attractive as a lower cost and more environmentally friendly option,” explained Dr Brown. 

Despite this, he said there are a number of challenges to address, as they would be at larger scale and face bigger pressures than anything built for onshore purposes.

The study focusing on engineering practice is therefore looking for ways of ensuring both performance and efficiency.

While a number of foundation solutions are being considered, driving many piles into a particular area could impact on marine mammals and plant life.

This is just one of many issues identified so far although it is hoped that suitable solutions can be developed in the years ahead.

The Universities of Dundee is leading the project, alongside contributions from the Universities of Durham and Southampton and a number of private sector partners.

Grad Plus has a wide range of environmental consultancy graduate jobs as well as engineering and management type roles

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