Past Research Projects
Principal Investigator: Prof. Harshinie Karunarathna
Collaborators: University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and Kyoto University, Japan
Although most developing nations have a significant potential to generate energy from sustainable sources lack of expertise and technology, and resources for essential preliminary investigations has led them continue to generate electricity using high carbon-intensive means such as coal and fossil fuels. Sri Lanka is surrounded by energetic seas of the Indian Ocean (SOI).
The western and southern coastlines of Sri Lanka is subjected to energetic long-distance swells propagated from the Southern Indian Ocean (SIO), which can be a reliable source of energy all throughout the year. Although large scale wave energy harvesting can still be a distance venture, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Sri Lanka has identified small scale wave energy generation as a potential sustainable energy option for satisfying local scale electricity demand.
The main aim of this GCRF funded project is to establish scientific inputs and expertise required for such assessments. The project will provide essential scientific information and establish local expertise required for preliminary local scale wave energy assessments in Sri Lanka, which will lay the foundation for the development of small scale wave energy harvesting projects.
The EU ERDF funded SEACAMS2 project is a 3-year £17M collaboration between Swansea and Bangor Universities. The main objective of the collaboration is to provide assistance to enterprises in the Welsh convergence regions to develop new opportunities in low carbon, energy and the environment. Focus is on marine sectors, in particular on marine renewable energy (MRE).
At Swansea, research teams from both the College of Science and College of Engineering are involved. The College of Engineering team specialise in the modelling and measurement of physical phenomena relevant to MRE. This includes numerical modelling of wave and tidal resources at potential deployment sites; numerical modelling of impacts to sediment dynamics; physical modelling of wave energy device components in a state-of-the-art 30m long wave flume; measurements of wave conditions using two wave buoys deployed around the South Wales coast; and, measurements of intertidal processes using survey techniques such as unmanned aerial vehicle and terrestrial laser scanners.
Further details on the project can be found at https://www.swansea.ac.uk/seacams/.
Despite increasing recognition of linkages between natural environment and human health & wellbeing, these links are still poorly understood. There is a real need to develop methodological approaches to fully elucidate natural environments for health and wellbeing. To address this need the CoastWEB project aims to holistically value the contribution which coastal habitats make to human health and wellbeing, with a focus on the alleviation of coastal natural hazards and extreme events.
The project is ambitious in its interdisciplinary scope, including art, social and environmental psychology, environmental economics, governance, policy, a suite of natural sciences, and non-academic stakeholders. It also covers a range of scales from local Welsh case study sites to UK national.
The project begins with the definition of a set of "real world" future interventions for Welsh salt marsh ecosystems, with a particular focus on coastal defence, and set within a broader national policy context. The impact of these interventions on saltmarsh coastal defence capacity will then be explored using natural science and modelling techniques, improving our understanding of the key ecosystem processes and attributes which influence this capacity. The impact of these changes in coastal defence, and broader ecosystem service delivery, will be linked to changes in human health and wellbeing at both a local community and national scale.
MORPHINE aims to develop mathematical theory of morphodynamics as it pertains to a macro-tidal environment (coastal region with large tidal range, like that in the UK), so as to understand the movement of large deposits of sand on our beaches and shorefaces (shorefaces are, loosely, the regions in between the beach and the continental shelf floor).This theory will allow us to formulate a new mathematical modelling approach.
New models stemming from this will allow us to develop a new approach to designing sea defences, in which large quantities of sand ("nourishments") are deposited at strategic locations at and / or near to the coastline. These nourishments will provide a source of sediment for beaches that are eroding, but, importantly, they will also alter local wave and current conditions, which will transform previously eroding beaches into more stable configurations, and so form naturalistic coastal defences.
The theory and the models, coupled with a new, realistic statistical model of sea conditions, will make it possible for us to predict the behaviour of these nourishments to a high degree of accuracy under different conditions. Because the models are highly efficient we will be able to do this for long times (say, 20 years or more), and to investigate the likely variations in wave conditions that might occur during this time. This will support the design of this new approach to designing sea defences, and will mean that we do not have to rely on invasive, expensive and reactive traditional sea defences.
It will have the additional benefit of providing the means to predict how a major proportion of our existing coast will behave in the future. The proposal addresses UK conditions in particular, in which a very large tidal range combines with a wide variety of wave conditions to produce a particularly challenging environment.
We are therefore proposing to undertake fundamental work on coastal morphodynamics so as to develop tools that will let us re-think our coastal defence strategy.
In recent decades the Jakarta Metropolitan Area in Indonesia has undergone widespread development and led Indonesia's impressive economic growth. But this development and associated urban sprawl has contributed to undesirable water-resource issues such as increased flooding.
The Ciliwung River Basin (CRB) has been a major source of flooding in the Jakarta area in recent years. The floods are of both fluvial and coastal origin and, are worsening due to a large number of drivers, including land subsidence, low drainage or storage capacity in Jakarta's rivers and canals, changes to the climate increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. They are also the result of a rapidly growing population and land use change causing a growth in economic assets located in potentially flood-prone areas.
Traditional flood control focusing on structural flood protection measures through physical intervention only is no longer successful in sustainable flood management in CRB. This study explores hydrological, hydrodynamic, land use, institutional and societal aspects of flooding and flood management that could positively or negatively influence the functioning of flood management in the CRB.
The project draws upon a range of disciplinary expertise, including hydrological processes, disaster risk reduction, urban planning, public policy, disaster resilience, flood modelling, hydraulic engineering, and behavioural science. The team will combine analytical methods (e.g., modelling of key physical flood variables, urban risk flood modelling) with empirical methods that are based on the analysis of observed or potential consequences through the use of interviews, questionnaires and focus groups.
Longshore Sediment Transport Simulations in a Changing Climate (UK India Education and Research Initiative) (PI Dominic Reeve) This study will investigate the impact of variable wave climate on the temporal dynamics of longshore sediment transport (LST), which plays a major role in defining the overall coastal geomorphology of regional coastlines.
With the growing need towards developing future projections of waves to assess possible climate driven impacts on coastal processes and coastal community, it is required to evaluate the performance of General Circulation Models (GCMs) and Regional Climate Models (RCMs) in simulating regional wave climate independent of their ability to simulate other ‘standard’ variables.
To this end we will seek to gain improved understanding of the climate drivers affecting the coastal processes and longshore sediment transport (LST) along the Indian and UK coasts; model the longshore sediment transport along sections of the Indian and UK coasts using numerical and empirical models, with validation against satellite images and field measurements; investigate the LST and shoreline evolution of select continuous and interrupted coasts for future RCP scenarios recommended by IPCC.
An integral part of the project will be an exchange of staff between Swansea University and IIT(Bombay), with secondments and visits of staff to the partner institutions.
This project is collaborative research effort between industry and academia to provide hybrid engineering solutions for beach restoration in Central Java. We will develop methods for affordable and sustainable coastal flood protection against wave attack and beach restoration, including natural and man-made wave attenuation measures such as submerged breakwaters and mangrove plantation.
As a first step we will construct analytical models to provide insight into the key physical processes. Then we will develop a corresponding computational tool to solve the equations for more complex cases. The model will be validated against measurements from experiments run at Swansea University’s Coastal Laboratory and measuremetns provided by local industrial partners in Java.
Working with partners from industry and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), we will identify coastal ‘hotspots’ for priority action. As part of this students from ITB will undertake internships in industry and continue their work as their Master’s final project. An important element of the project is exchange of staff and network building.
Identifying and understanding extreme and fatigue loads on tidal energy converters (TEC), understanding environmental extremes (other than main resource), and determining accessibility, serviceability criteria, fault intervals and associated device life cycles, are all important factors that can determine CAPEX and OPEX cost of devices and array deployments.
This project will provide a holistic vision for design optimisation to ensure, reliability and survivability for floating TECs (FTECs). Computational modelling and real sea deployment measurements will provide a tool to inform the optimum operational strategy and maximise survivability and reliability for FTEC devices and arrays.
Within the project Swansea University are developing a coupled rigid body model (RBM) and blade element momentum theory (BEMT) code to enable the study of FTECs numerically at a fundamental level. We are working closely with project partners Sustainable Marine Energy, EMEC, and Black and Veatch to determine the most important parameters to be measured for this type of technology. Measurements taken from the deployment of Sustainable Marine Energy’s PLAT-I device in Connel Sound, Scotland and Grand Passage, Canada, including loads on the device and sea condition datasets, will be used to validate the coupled RBM-BEMT model. A generic RBM-BEMT FTEC model will then be tested using environmental data, including extremes, provided by EMEC.
In collaboration with Black and Veatch the resulting load predictions will be used to estimate component fatigue and failure. This will lead to the development of an operational strategy and design guidance to maximise survivability and reliability of FTECs.
Violent wave impacts on coastal/offshore/marine structures may generate air entrapments. The entrapped air can affect the amplitude and duration of the impact pressure, the mechanism of which is still not well resolved. Numerical modelling of this problem also remains a challenge because of the highly deformed fluid motion and the complicated water-air interaction.
The NewTank model developed by the research collaborator Professor Pengzhi Lin, has been extensively used to simulate turbulent breaking waves. Some variants of NewTank were proposed to simulate water-air two-phase flows and aerated flows, but few studies have yet considered the compressibility of the entrapped/entrained air. This project, therefore, aims to extend the NewTank model to account for the compressible air. The effect of air compressibility on the turbulence intensity and dissipation of breaking waves will be explored.
The developed numerical model will advance the aerated flow simulation to a new stage. The research findings will give new insight into the breaking wave process.
Early warning system for urban flooding in Chinese mega cities using advanced active phased array radar (APAR)
This two-year project aims to bring together academics and industrial partners from UK and China to conduct a pilot study on the use of the active phased array radar (APAR) to provide early urban flood warnings to Chinese mega cities. The project is supported by the Guangzhou municipal government, capital of the wealthiest province in China yet facing challenging urban flood issues.
This is going to be the first in the world of using the cutting-edge active phase array radar to provide rainfall monitoring and storm warning information for cities at such large scale. The team comprises leading researchers in the field of radar hydrology and flood modelling from Swansea University, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology and Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute. HR Wallingford and Zhuhai Naruida are two industrial partners joining force to tackle innovation in tuning the radar technology to fit the complex urban environment as well as advanced modelling facilities that are designed to link the observations, providing decision making support to the city government.
The collaboration built up by this project and the first-hand experiment data will serve to further catalyse the uptake of state-of-the-art weather radars for urban flood risk management. In addition to the economic benefits and great potential of translating the outcome to other cities, the project will help incubate and materialise the innovations in manufacturing next generation radars and ITC services for urban flood warnings, which in turn, benefits the industrial sectors and enhances social welfare and economic development in China and in many other developing countries globally.
MONITOR is an Interreg Atlantic Area project bringing together academic and industrial partners from across Europe’s Atlantic coastline. Its goal is to lower the cost of tidal stream energy compared to other renewable sources by reducing the need for expensive at-sea maintenance and repair operations.
To achieve this, MONITOR will produce tools to enable developers of tidal energy convertors (TECs) to improve device reliability. These tools are based on a central conceptual reliability model (VMEA) that uses data from multiple modelling approaches (at-sea measurements, lab work, numerical simulations) to quantify reliability – technoeconomic analysis will translate this to impacts on cost of operation.
Quantification, Optimisation, and Environmental Impacts of Marine Renewable Energy
Cluster Leader: Dr Simon Neill, Bangor University
- World-leading scientific research that will examine how wave and tidal energy resources interact with one-another
- Addresses the nature of marine renewable energy resources in the context of sea-level rise and changing weather patterns
- Aims to improve optimisation of marine energy as a reliable source of power to the grid with direct relevance to industry and policy