WIRC, WEIR and WISE researchers had a strong presence at the 5th PRIMaRE conference on 5th-6th July in Bristol [picture caption: group picture of Bath WIRC researchers (from left to right): Qiang Chen, Haoyu Ding, Philippe Blondel, Ioanna Stamataki, Jun Zang, Junliang Gao,and Jonathan Birchall]. The Partnership for Research in Marine Renewable Energy (PRIMaRE) is a network of world-class research institutions based in the west, south, and south west of the UK who undertake research and development to address challenges facing the marine renewable energy industry at the regional, national and international level. Attracting close to 200 delegates, with a strong participation from industry and government agencies, this conference was very successful. Dr. Jun Zang, founding Director of the University of Bath’s Research Unit for Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience and the past Chair of PRIMaRE during 2015-2016, and Dr Philippe Blondel, founding Deputy Director of the University of Bath’s Centre for Space, Atmosphere and Ocean Science (CSAOS), are members of the PRIMaRE Steering Committee and they helped preparing the technical programme of this conference, using their experience from hosting it in Bath in July 2016. As members of the WIRC Theme “Coastal and Ocean Engineering”, they had of course many links with the marine renewable energy research and developments presented here.
Over two days, the PRIMaRE-2018 conference presented the latest developments in wave energy, tidal energy and floating wind energy. Speakers from both academia and industry covered topics from numerical modelling to design of structures and materials, device installation, testing, and Operations & Maintenance (O&M). The marine renewable energy sector must address major challenges around cost and risk reduction if it is to play a significant role in our future low carbon energy mix. Although offshore wind has seen rapid growth over recent years, the wave and tidal sectors have experienced significant setbacks, with several leading companies falling into financial difficulties and the UK government deciding not to back the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. The ongoing work of R&D facilities such as Wave Hub and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), alongside flagship commercial projects like MeyGen, show that the industry still has a strong platform for future success, but only with the backing of carefully targeted government support schemes. This was the core focus of a panel discussion, which featured views from a range of leading figures in the marine energy sector, Experiences from Europe, North America, Australia and Indonesia were presented, showing how other governments were fully engaging with the current, rapid expansion in renewable energy access and the development of associated technologies.
Dr. Jun Zang took a strong contingent of early-career researchers in her group, including PhD students, RA , visiting academic and undergraduate student .We are very pleased that Jonathan Birchall, a third year Undergraduate student from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, presented his dissertation research on the optimisation of WEC type floating breakwaters in the conference, and won the poster prize, a great achievement for Jonathan being the only undergraduate student attending the conference!
WEIR Director Dr. Jun Zang also gave an invited talk on the Hydrodynamics of extreme wave loadings in the PRIMaRE Workshop, held a day before the PRIMaRE Conference. The theme of the PRIMaRE Workshop is “Paving the way to scale up MRE devices towards commercialisation”. As one of the international leading figures in the field, she was also invited to chair two sessions of the PRIMaRE Conference and played a key part in the success of the conference.