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EngD student wins grant for renewable energy research

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EngD student Mairi Dorward has received a research grant from the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (WCSIM) for her work in the field of ocean renewables.

The particular topic of the award is her work in measuring complex marine currents for use in the tidal energy sector.

The WCSIM research grants, worth £2.000 each, are granted annually in recognition of projects involving creative scientific progress and allow recipients to become Scientific Instrument Maker (SIM) scholars.

Mairi, an EngD student at the EPSRC School and NERC-funded center for doctoral training in offshore renewable energy (IDCORE), received the grant for her work to create and test a new method for improving the measurement of currents in fast-flowing ocean environments.

The work aims to provide engineers and researchers with a better understanding of the marine environments in which they operate to develop tidal energy devices to allow improvements in efficiency and resilience.

Mairi has played a leading role in a team developing the new sensing method, which is based on the existing acoustic technology commonly used to measure ocean currents.

The new sensor system consists of several instruments that are mounted on a frame comparable in size to a transit van wheelbase.

Each instrument generates a single acoustic beam and can be individually controlled, allowing the alignment of all beams to converge at a point several meters away from the frame.

The small sample volume probed by the new sensor offers much-improved accuracy in flow measurements compared to standard techniques at this well-defined measurement point.

“The award resulted from a project run in collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and experts in world-class facilities at PNNL, a US Department of Energy national laboratory. I’m delighted to have received the award, representing a truly collaborative project realized by a great team effort.”

Mairi Dorward.

“The prototype sensor field-testing that Mairi successfully led on this international collaboration is a key step in our long-term plans to design and demonstrate technologies that can better capture the dynamics of the challenging marine environment.”

Dr. Brian Sellar, research supervisor.

Mairi previously worked with BP for 10 years, latterly in environmental management and engineering in major capital projects. She is currently nearing completion of her IDCORE EngD thesis with a portfolio incorporating operations and maintenance of wave energy devices and metocean data for the marine energy sector.

Nedim Husomanovic

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