Energy Systems Research Themes

All Research Themes at the Institute for Energy Systems
  • Superconductivity is broadly recognised for its contribution to solving key research and societal challenges in Energy and Healthcare sectors. This theme includes research into the synthesis, characterisation and understanding of superconducting materials, as well as the design, modelling and testing of superconducting devices.

    Superconductors that carry electricity with no resistance can be used to develop superefficient devices, such as power cables and electric machines. These devices will greatly support the reform of energy system by diversifying supply and weaning the world away from fossil fuels, providing opportunities for secure, affordable and low-carbon energy.

    Magnetic levitation of superconductor

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  • This research theme focuses on improvement of internal combustion (IC) engine efficiency and minimization of emissions via basic research on the fundamentals that control combustion in engine cylinders.

    New high-efficiency combustion modes, together with downsized engines for lower vehicle fuel consumption (and for electric vehicles), present many fundamental challenges to the motor industry.

  • This theme focusses on converting energy from one form into electrical energy using electrical machines and power electronics.

    The design of novel machines is an integral part of this research theme which concentrates on power take off systems in renewable energy converters, such as direct drive wave, wind and tidal current systems.

     20kW "C-GEN" permanent magnet generator

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  • The Energy Policy, Economics and Innovation theme addresses the economic and policy aspects of energy systems, combining together expertise on applied economics, innovation theory, energy system organisations and institutions, and the wider policy and regulatory context of energy.

    A thorough analysis of energy systems requires not only a good understanding of the physical networks and technologies that they are composed of, but also of the energy markets and policy environments in which they operate.

    The energy trilemma

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  • The aim of the group is to develop cost-competitive technologies for electricity and thermal energy storage. The work ranges from the development of the storage technologies to their integration into the wider energy system.

    Due to the increase in intermittent renewable energy in the electricity grid, energy storage systems are necessary to balance the mismatch between energy supply and demand and to enable the substitution of fossil fuels.

    Adiabatic Compressed Air Energy Storage (ACAES)

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  • Understanding the interactions between energy generation and climate is crucial to providing a resilient and secure energy supply in the future.

    Climate change could affect many aspects of energy generation and distribution, by changing weather patterns and variability. The scale of these impacts must be quantified and understood in order to minimise risk under future scenarios.

    Scotland's Wave Resource (Scottish Executive Matching Study, 2006)

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  • Research in Naval Architecture focuses on the mitigation of the carbon footprint of marine transport and on the performance improvement of racing yachts.

    The carbon emissions of the current merchant fleet account for more than 3% of the global emissions and are expected to increase by a factor of 3 by 2050. There is an urgent need to develop novel flow control mechanisms to decrease the hull resistance and novel wind-assisted propulsion systems to decrease the oil fuel consumption.

    Unmanned multihull with Flettner rotors for the mitigation of global warming

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  • This research theme focusses on offshore renewable energy research and development ranging from resource assessment and prediction, to converter design, optimisation and control.

    Renewable resources covered include wave, tidal and offshore wind. Further details of research within this theme can be found on the website for SuperGen Marine Energy Research. A further, closely-related research area is coastal engineering.

    Salter Duck wave energy converter test rig

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