World class centre for renewable energy systems to be formed
The University of Bedfordshire and TWI Ltd have formed a partnership which will see them jointly fund and establish the Renewables Innovation Centre, a world class hub for engineering-based, renewable energy research and development aimed at bringing new enabling and disruptive technologies to the market place.
Based at TWI’s Cambridge headquarters, the Centre will carry out R&D programmes designed to identify, test and qualify new sustainable energy technologies that will form the basis of tomorrow’s novel systems, applications and solutions for the renewable energy industry.
New technologies are replacing traditional ways of generating power, therefore, the digital transformation of energy production and usage has powerful potential to bring more efficiency, flexibility and co-ordination to the management of energy and its associated processes. The Renewables Innovation Centre is set to reflect this with the development of innovative technologies that can enhance the performance and efficiency of low carbon power generation assets leading to improved efficiency and reduced operational and maintenance costs. Major research themes will focus on the lifecycle of infrastructure and assets, and include:
- Maintenance, inspection and monitoring services
- Grid, power generation, networks and distribution
- Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA)
- Risk assessment and remaining useful life
- Installation, commissioning and decommissioning
- Digitalisation of legacy systems
Digital technologies have been used by the renewable energy sector for decades, but recent years have seen a rapid expansion in the numbers and types of applications available. Whilst this has the potential to bring greater efficiency, flexibility and co-ordination to the management of energy end-use sectors, and the wider industry, with the added benefit of advancing the integration and further deployment of cleaner, more reliable renewable energy alternatives, such technologies can be prohibitively expensive to implement and run. Therefore, a key objective for the new Innovation Centre will be to reduce final system and application costs in order to make them more competitive.
Ángela Angulo, Team Manager, Condition and Structural Health Monitoring at TWI, has been appointed as the Director of the Renewables Innovation Centre. Ángela, who joined TWI in 2013, is currently leading activities to create new technologies and open up new market opportunities whilst simultaneously delivering an extensive R&D project portfolio.
Ángela is an expert in monitoring strategies and evaluation of the structural status of industrial assets during their lifetime, including failure prevention and prediction of damage growth. She has also authored over 25 scientific publications on condition monitoring and structural health monitoring in peer-reviewed journal papers and books.
Speaking about the Renewables Innovation Centre, Ángela said “The development of innovative technologies that can enhance the performance and efficiency of low carbon power generation assets is key to ensuring optimum use of the planet’s resources.” “Therefore, our vision for the new Centre is for it to be the next generation leader and premier reference point for research and advancement in the renewables industry”. Adding “By focusing on asset management for the renewables sector, and technology transfer technology from academia to industry and vice versa, it will combine the complementary strengths of the University of Bedfordshire and TWI, and serve to build on and strengthen the existing link between our two organisations.”
Professor Jan Domin, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science who leads on STEM research for the University of Bedfordshire said “I am delighted to announce this partnership between the University and TWI to create a new Innovation Centre in Cambridge to lead on the research and development of renewable energy systems.” “As we strive to counter climate change, improving the efficiency with which we capture energy from renewable resources is one of the greatest engineering challenges of our generation.” “It is exciting that researchers from the University of Bedfordshire and TWI will be able to work with industry to provide sector leading solutions to this real world problem.” he explained.
Professor Tat-Hean Gan, TWI Director of Innovation and Skills, said “The Innovation Centre will use both public and private funding to develop new technologies and re-invest the Centre’s income to grow its technical and intellectual capability.” The University's Director of Innovation and Enterprise Dr Nick Lancaster stated “This research partnership has the propensity to help the University attract a range of associated major funding streams over the next decade through the National Industrial Strategy and the Oxford-Cambridge economic Arc initiative as well as demonstrating the University’s commitment to leading, industrially focused STEM research.”