TeraWatt project to minimise environmental impact of marine renewable energy extraction

A researcher from Swansea University’s College of Engineering is a part of a project which has been awarded £1 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to minimise the impacts of marine renewable energy extraction on the coastal and marine environment.

HarshinieThe Scottish-based ‘Large Scale Interactive Coupled 3D Modelling for Wave and Tidal Energy Resource and Environmental Impacts’ project – or TeraWatt –  is coordinated by The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) and funded by the EPSRC through a Supergen Marine Grand Challenge award.

The three-year project, which runs until 2015, will develop computer models to simulate the effects of extracting energy using wave and tidal energy devices on the marine environment.

The TeraWatt consortium is led by Heriot-Watt University and involves partnership with the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Swansea, the Highlands and Islands, and Marine Scotland Science. It will provide a vital tool for licencing authorities and decision makers about the potential siting of marine renewable energy devices and arrays.

Dr Harshinie Karunarathna (pictured above), senior lecturer in coastal engineering at Swansea University’s College of Engineering, said: “The project will be an important step towards marine renewable energy future in the UK. We aim to deliver a major advance in ability to predict environmental impacts of marine energy extraction.

“Swansea, jointly with Strathclyde, will be leading the work stream on ‘sediment dynamics’, with the aim of predicting sea bed morphodynamics and coastal change associated with marine energy extraction.”

For more information on Swansea University’s College of Engineering visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/engineering/.