IDCORE Curriculum

The first year

IDCORE will recruit students from across engineering, science, technology, mathematics and other numerate disciplines. The 1st year will ensure all students are trained in electrical, offshore and mechanical engineering.

Introduction icon The taught phase will start with introductions to: RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation); wave energy converters; offshore wind turbines, and tidal energy converters. RRI training will be delivered by the EPSRC funded Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT (ORBIT). As part of this course the students will develop an initial assessment for the group design project, that will be audited by ORBIT.

Engineering Foundations iconEngineering Foundations will mentor the students to develop a personal learning plan increasing strength in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. Supported by academic staff and by their peers, they will learn critical background knowledge before sitting an open book, take-away, exam, set bespoke to their personal learning plans, to demonstrate they have achieved the necessary levels of competence to successfully complete the rest of the programme.

Resource Assessment iconResource Assessment will address the measurement, modelling and analysis of wave, tidal and wind data, enabling students to apply the techniques learned to real datasets in the context of the offshore energy development scenario used in the group design project. The topics covered will be: wave resource, tidal resource, and wind resource. A particular highlight will cover the deployment of field measurement instruments (anemometers, LIDAR, RADAR, ADCP, AWAC, wave buoys, etc) and the interpretation of the data obtained.

Electrical Machines iconElectrical Machines will give the students an understanding of the electro-mechanical systems used in renewable energy drive trains. In addition to conventional electrical machines, the module will describe C-Gen, a light weight, low speed, permanent magnet, direct drive, machine specifically designed for ORE applications. Modelling and control of electrical machines will be introduced. The machine models developed will be used to predict the power output of the electrical machines in the group design project.

Offshore Engineering iconOffshore Engineering will introduce the fluid mechanics required for design of fixed and floating offshore structures. Topics covered include: flotation and stability of platforms, the behaviour of ocean waves in a range of water depths, the nature of the hydrodynamic forces acting on structures at sea, and the dynamic responses of fixed and floating structures in ocean environments.  Students will be introduced to modelling and prediction of these phenomena at a range of levels of fidelity suitable for different stages of the design process. The aero- and hydro-dynamics of turbines, and the prediction of power capture and loading from wind and current devices will be introduced. An overview of mooring systems for floating structures as a precursor to the Eco-engineering course taken by students in the 3rd year will be given. Students will apply the knowledge gained in a case study that complements the group design project.

Materials and Structures icon This course will address materials and structural design for offshore renewable energy applications. Students will discuss traditional materials such as steels, and will cover fibre reinforced composites. Design, testing and structural health monitoring techniques will span the ranges from micro scale to full scale. Next generation components and materials employed in ocean devices will be discussed. The course will include a field trip to BiFAB and Babcock’s Rosyth facility and a comprehensive programme of laboratory experiments.

Economics icon Students will address aspects of economics and policy analysis which are crucial for a comprehensive understanding of private and public attitudes towards the offshore renewable sector. These topics will include: energy objectives and the appropriate policies; private sector and financial analysis (e.g. NPV, IRR); levelised costs; electricity markets in theory and practice; and an analysis of the links between offshore renewable policies and national and regional economic, environmental and social objectives. In addition, the students will analyse national and international innovation policy.

Enerhy Systems icon This course will deliver knowledge and understanding of the integration of renewable energy into the energy system. The fundamentals of power networks will be covered and the students will be trained in the use of simulation to model the performance of an electricity network. The use of power electronics will be explored, both to condition power from a machine and, critically, as part of a power projects interface to the network. In the laboratory phase of the course, students will work with a networked group of electrical machines, acting as power stations, connected to a variable load. The assessment will include building a PowerWorld simulation of a distribution network which includes the energy farm proposed in the group design project. Cultivate Innovation’s Energy System game will be used to introduce the students to the impact of a changing regulatory environment on large-scale energy suppliers to the transmission network.

Research Skills iconResearch Skills will be taught in two parts. The first will develop skills in information management, critical evaluation of scientific papers, Python programming and dealing with uncertainty in data. The second part will develop skills in hydrodynamic model testing. During this part of the course students will conduct model tests for the group design project in the Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratory.

Group Design Project icon The Group Design Project will be designed to reinforce the learning from the other courses in the taught phase. Working in teams of five, students will analyse a project posed by the ORE Catapult. The starting point will be a realistic scenario in which the client has licenced an energy conversion technology and chosen a deployment site.  By the end of the semester 1, groups will have planned a measurement campaign for the site, analysed the resulting resource data, predicted the hydrodynamic performance and expected power output of the converter and estimated annual energy production. During the Industrial Seminar Week, they will make poster presentations on their findings to the ORE Catapult.

At the end of semester 2, the groups will have refined their power performance predictions using model tests, provided an initial estimate of the project’s levelised cost of energy, the internal rate of return and payback period. They will have considered changes needed to optimise the performance of the machine and the deployment site in light of both the machine’s characteristics and the available network connection. At the end of the project the groups will present a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED), RRI assessment and economic analysis to a Dragon’s Den panel from the ORE and ES Catapults and the consortium partners, who will make an investment decision on the project.

Throughout the group design project, teams will have assessed, had audited, and refined an RRI assessment. Highlighting possible ethical, environmental and societal impacts, and related stakeholders is designed to provide a strong motivation for the final 1st year course.

Environment icon The foundation year will end with the Marine Energy and the Environment course. This will be the first of two residential courses held at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) on the west coast of Scotland. It will give students an understanding of the key oceanographic systems and living features of coastal marine environments from an ecological perspective as they impinge on ORE developments and their consenting requirements. Background biology of key habitats and species groups will be introduced along with their likely vulnerabilities to interactions (negative or positive) to device construction or operation. The most common survey and data processing techniques will be introduced along with practical demonstrations both in the laboratory and at sea. Particular attention will be paid to the differences, difficulties and financial costs of collecting data relevant to consenting decisions in high energy environments.

Summer Schools and Distance Learning

Innovation Organisations icon "Developing and Managing Innovative Organisations" will increase understanding of approaches and practices by which technological solutions are developed and shaped into new products, services and processes for which there is a market need/opportunity and build greater awareness of the resources and management approaches required for that to happen effectively. It will explore the role entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial thinking play in influencing how opportunities are identified, shaped and taken to market, via establishing new organisations or integration of innovation into existing organisations, examining the role enterprising individuals play in managing and leading innovation and organisational development. The importance of soft skills in these processes, such as networking, negotiation and leadership, will also be considered. Students will learn through a range of means, including online material, interactive lectures/workshops, experiential activities and reflection on practices within their own placement and other organisations. Guest speakers will convey the realities of developing and managing innovative organisations from a range of organisational perspectives and highlight particular opportunities and challenges within the offshore renewables sector.

Ocean to end user iconOcean to End-User will be delivered as a summer school. It will take a holistic view considering sources of energy, including traditional ORE resources, and balances these with demand for electricity, heat and fuel. It will include: integrating wind, tidal and wave energy systems in hybrid energy systems; understanding of the marine and coastal environment; governance of ocean systems; energy vectors including transport biofuels and industry use; energy storage and management; and optimised routes to decarbonising energy systems.

Society icon"Marine Renewables and Society" will be the second course delivered by SAMS. It will broaden students’ understanding of the competing interests associated with marine real-estate, and how they impact the site selection, progress and compromises enforced on marine renewable energy developments. The latest methods used to balance competing interests (Marine Spatial Planning) will be introduced and discussed within the context of changing UK-EU political climates and legislation. The legal processes used to assess environmental impacts will be covered to a level where students will understand the relevance and timescales associated with environment consenting processes. Topics will include: introduction to marine resources; overview of marine users; marine governance, policy, risk-based consenting and planning; and overview of assessment mechanisms.

O&M Sensors and Robotics icon The course will reflect on the critical impact operations and maintenance scheduling and planning has on the OPEX costs of an energy farm. During the first week of the course (taught in Edinburgh), building on outputs from the EPSRC funded ORCA Hub (EP/R026173/1), the course will discuss the use of autonomous vehicles for inspection and maintenance. Industrialists and consulting engineers will be invited to discuss how O&M has been optimised in recent projects. During the second week, underwater sensors and robots and remotely operated vehicles for high-energy will be discussed, and hostile environments, showing how they enable the safe, reliable, and cost-effective operation of a marine energy asset.

Standards and Certification icon This course will expose the students to the need for and operation of standards and certification for ORE technologies. It will integrate industry speakers and cover: need and benefits of standards for ORE technologies, the conceptual certification process, product certification (type and component) and management system certification (quality, environmental and health and safety management). The course delivered by a combination of IDCORE staff and industry representatives from The Crown Estate, Health & Safety Executive and certification agencies, will make extensive use of case studies and involve the students in a roleplay simulation exercise.

Eco Engineering iconEco-engineering approaches allows the optimisation of project design and implementation of adaptive work methods with the objective to enhance habitat and ensure minimal impact whilst enhancing beneficial gains. The course will prepare students for eco-engineering processes relevant to offshore energy infrastructure projects that are often placed in sensitive marine environments that ask for responsible and innovative project approaches. It will be run at the Penryn Campus of Exeter University and will be designed to build on relevant examples of pilots and case studies, such as offshore wind farms or marine demonstration sites, focusing on realization of the infrastructure installation through an eco-friendly approach.

Thesis writing iconViva prepartion icon These two, non-credit bearing courses will be provided by the partner universities’ academic excellence programmes and are offered to all PhD and EngD students in the institutions. They support the timely writing of a high-quality thesis and prepare the students for the viva voce examination. Students will also be encouraged to take on-line courses that further improve their presentation skills.

Students will also be able to take additional, not-for-credit, specialist courses in software engineering and parallel computing (from the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre), offshore access, and advanced courses on hydrodynamic testing (at Edinburgh and Strathclyde) through the H2020 MARINET2 project.