The Industrial Placement year I undertook at Harwell developed a passion for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). At Harwell, I worked on the development of grid generation software for the CFX flow solver (which was being developed by the Applied Mathematics Group). As well as developing the mesh generators (work which I extended for my final year project), I used Flow3D (as it was originally called) to model a number of industrial applications and presented my first paper at the 1987 HTFS symposium. This interest was developed through my PhD, for which I wrote a compressible, boundary conforming, fluid flow solver which could be applied to chemically reacting flows. Working with my first PhD student and PDRAs this code was extended and used to a number of industrial applications, including modelling the engine surge in the twin side-by-side air intakes of the Typhoon fighter aircraft for BAe Systems.
Causon, Mingham, Yang, and myself developed the Cartesian cut cell method as a boundary conforming alternative to boundary fitted meshes. Cartesian cut cells have the advantage that the moving body can make large scale motions across the background grid without the need to recompute the underlying mesh. The Royal Aeronautical Society awarded us the 1997 Busk Prize for our papers describing the method. The method was extended to 3D and applied to model shallow water flows and other a range of other applications including shock-bubble interaction. Work on shallow water equations identified a serious short-coming in the representation of the bed form in conservative flow solvers, we developed the surface gradient method for dealing with this issue reporting the work in two papers that, to date, have been cited almost 500 times. Further work on Cartesian cut cell solvers led to the development of a free surface capturing method and the development of the Amazon-SC flow solver.
Building on the model development in shallow water and free surface flows, I lead the numerical work pack- ages on the EPSRC VOWS and EU CLASH projects. In VOWS and CLASH we continued to develop the models and applied them for predicting the volumes of water overtopping seawalls during violent wave impacts. During this time one of my PhD students used radial-basis-functions in artificial neural networks to predict wave overtopping volumes. The work on wave overtopping led to a long term collaboration with Dr Yasunori Watanabe (Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan) using CFD and experiments to describe breaking waves. This work culminated with a paper describing the statistical distributions of spray droplets in breaking waves. This work was reported (on 15th October 2016) in the Times, the Daily Mail, the Scotsman, the Herald and the Edinburgh Evening News.
In 2006, connections I had made with through VOWS and CLASH led to a move to Edinburgh. Since joining the School of Engineering I have become more involved in marine energy research and my work has been more application driven. Working with experimentalists led to the development of best practice protocols and ultimately to the development of broader technology evaluation protocols within the EC EquiMar project. The EC project led directly to the Marina PLATFORM and TROPOS projects, which considered multi-use energy platforms. In both I led work to combine CFD tools, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and met-ocean data to assess marine energy resources and to match technology to deployment locations. This work led to an investigation of the impact of wave-current interaction at marine energy deployment sites in Orkney 26 and to two EngD projects. The first developed techniques to re-create realistic multi-directional sea conditions in a wave basin and the second to an investigation of the effect of wind induced tilt on the hydrodynamics of floating wind energy converters. Interest in the assessment of renewable energy devices in EquiMar, MARINA Platform and TROPOS led to my inclusion in the EC funded PolyWEC project which considered the use of dielectric elastomers as a power take off in wave energy devices. Developments in this project also resulted in a patent being applied for.
A combination of the resource assessment work and evaluation protocols confirmed Prof Salter’s observation that test facilities were needed that combined waves and currents in any relative direction. A proposal to EPSRC (with Bryden and Wallace) considered the under pinning research on the use of force feedback wave makers in flowing water and ultimately to a successful bid to build the FloWave ocean research facility. Flowave has subsequently been used to replicate the conditions found at EMEC.
Project coordination and management
I have participated as a member of the management team in a number of EC project: starting with CLASH, a project on wave overtopping of coastal structures, where I led the numerical modelling work package; Marina Platform, a project on hybrid marine energy platforms, where I led the resource assessment work package; TROPOS, which considered multi-use marine platforms, where I led the scientific and technical coordination; PolyWEC, which is developing a dielectric elastomer based wave energy converter, where I lead the technology evaluation work.
From 2008 to 2011, I coordinated the EC EquiMar project, which developed protocols for the equitable evaluation of marine energy converters. The protocols were developed by a team of 22 partners from 11 member states, representing leading technology developers, universities, test houses, and certification agencies. They cover the environmental, engineering and economic assessment and provide a flexible toolset that was utilised in the Marina Platform and TROPOS projects. The EquiMar project coincided with drive by the International Electrotechnical Commission(IEC) to develop standards for Marine Energy. Through EquiMar I served on IEC TC 114 (steering the standards development), on the terminology project team 62600-1, and subsequently on the 62600-1 management team. EquiMar has fed into a number of other 62600 technical specifications and has been used as a basis for classification and certification rules by DNV GL.
Since 2007, been actively involved in the management of the UK Centre for Martine Energy Research (UKCMER). Initially running the doctoral training programme and then, since 2012, as the Research Director. In UKCMER, aside from day-to-day coordination, I have provided evidence to Reviews of RCUK Energy Programme, participated in EPSRC exhibitions, helped lead international R&D scoping workshops, and been involved in bidding for a number of Grand Challenge projects. Currently I lead UKCMERs engagement with the tidal energy programme in Japan and am involved in joint projects with India and Chile. I led the numerical modelling activities in the projects to design and build FloWave and am a member of FloWave’s board.
I am Director of the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE), a DTC which brings together the Universities of Edinburgh, Exeter and Strathclyde together with the Scottish Association for Marine Science and HR-Wallingford. IDCORE delivers a bespoke programme for future leaders in offshore renewable energy leading to a jointly awarded Engineering Doctorate. Students take courses in marine renewables, resource assessment, electrical machines, economics, marine biology, hyrodynamics, laboratory testing and undertake a group design project. Research projects are undertaken based in companies. IDCORE was initially funded to recruit 50 EngD students, but has secured funding for an additional 16. Our graduates are seen as highly employable and have produced a number of significant research papers, including, ten of the best papers have been included in a special edition of Ocean Engineering.