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World-leading powertrain research centre seeks UK academic partner to advance R&D

Published 19 September 2018

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is seeking to collaborate with UK-based universities to accelerate offshore turbine powertrain research and development activities, combining academic and industry skills and resources to better respond to industry’s needs.

This will be the third strategic Research Hub established by ORE Catapult following the collaborations with the University of Bristol in blades and the Universities of Strathclyde and Manchester in electrical infrastructure.

The new Powertrain Research Hub (PTRH) will attract a five-year investment of around £700k from ORE Catapult and will be leveraged with match-funding as a minimum from the university applicant(s). The PTRH will focus on addressing the following key research topics and themes:

  • Reliability improvement and advanced test methodologies.
  • Advanced health condition monitoring and prognostic technologies.
  • Development of next generation powertrain components for larger sized wind turbines.

The aim of the PTRH will be to provide future technologies for larger turbines and to research solutions for improving turbine reliability and availability, with a particular focus on minimising human interventions throughout the life of the wind turbine. By collaborating with leading academic expertise in this field, the PTRH will build a stronger complementary offering of research, innovation, demonstration and representative testing for the offshore renewables sector.

ORE Catapult is seeking submissions from universities interested in the joining the PTRH, which will help deliver the Catapult’s current and future powertrain research programme. The Catapult has a strong track record in powertrain testing, research and development and recently signed a five-year collaboration agreement with GE Renewable Energy to advance next generation turbine technologies, including the Haliade-X, the most powerful wind turbine in the world to date.

Paul McKeever, ORE Catapult’s Head of Strategic Research, said: “With industry moving towards larger wind turbines, we have an opportunity to significantly contribute to reducing the cost of turbine technology. It is essential to maximise this opportunity by also tackling the challenge of improving powertrain component reliability and availability.

“By developing the next generation of powertrain components, and improving their lifespan, we can significantly reduce the related operations and maintenance costs and subsequently minimise the number of human interventions for potentially dangerous turbine repair work at sea.

“We know from our current Research Hubs that by pooling academic and industry expertise, the UK is better positioned to respond to industrial challenges and drive forward key research and development.  This, in turn, enables the UK’s offshore renewables sector to lead in addressing a number of these challenges.”

To download the guidance and application documents please visit our Powertrain Reseach Hub webpage.

Webinar sessions will take place from week commencing Monday 24 September to walk through the PTRH application process and address any early queries from interested applicants and participants.

The deadline for application submissions will be 12 noon on Thursday 25th October 2018.