Electrical generation

Environmental Modelling

In order to ensure that electrical plant performs reliably it is necessary to determine the environmental conditions under which it is operating or likely to operate. It is important that plant operates within its design parameters in order to maximise its useful lifetime. For example, with buried cables the main design parameter that limits the bulk transmission of electrical power is the core conductor temperature of the cable.

Magnetic Field Technologies

Mapping the underworld (MTU) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-university, research project has been funded by EPSRC to develop the means to locate, map in 3-D and record, using a single shared platform, the position of 100% of buried utility service pipes and cables without excavation. Its research areas include:

This project is one package (WP6) of the whole MTU project. Its aims are to utilise a passive array of magnetic sensors together with advanced signal processing techniques to detect underground electricity cables and other metallic buried infrastructure, and to develop the technique so that it can be integrated in the multi-sensor device.

The work package consists of three interlinked activities: First, finite element modelling of fields from cables and the development of suitable optimisation techniques for estimating their location, using finite element implementations of Maxwell’s equations. Second, small-scale laboratory experiments to compare the theoretical results with fields from cables and adjacent metal pipes. Third, large-scale field trials in a controlled environment in the Frnakfurt Test Facility, and at different ‘live’ sites provided by the project partners.

Transient wave spectra analyses

The understanding of transient wave dynamics spectra on solid and/or permeable structures is of paramount importance for manufacturing and designing new material for the next generation of coastal defences in the UK. The observed sea rises and more frequent severe storms due to climate change are exposing our coastal defences to serious damage, induced casualties and huge economic costs. The rigorous simulation of the dynamics of the flow prior to, at and after impact at complex structures and the understanding of their response in a more systematic way needs to be investigated. However, this represents a great fluid dynamics simulation with intensive computations as the structure of the porous medium gets complex. In this PhD work, free surface flow simulations, analyses of forces of impact, and the integrity and responses of structures to transient impulsive signals with compressed air bubbles will be investigated. Distributed computing intensive simulations will be achieved to discover optimised designs of resilient porous structures of the future.

Transient wave spectra analyses

The understanding of transient wave dynamics spectra on solid and/or permeable structures is of paramount importance for manufacturing and designing new material for the next generation of coastal defences in the UK. The observed sea rises and more frequent severe storms due to climate change are exposing our coastal defences to serious damage, induced casualties and huge economic costs. The rigorous simulation of the dynamics of the flow prior to, at and after impact at complex structures and the understanding of their response in a more systematic way needs to be investigated. However, this represents a great fluid dynamics simulation with intensive computations as the structure of the porous medium gets complex. In this PhD work, free surface flow simulations, analyses of forces of impact, and the integrity and responses of structures to transient impulsive signals with compressed air bubbles will be investigated. Distributed computing intensive simulations will be achieved to discover optimised designs of resilient porous structures of the future.

Solid Dielectrics

A wide range of different materials are used as solid dielectrics in high voltage plant. Although much use has been made of paper and oil as insulation, the tendency is now to move towards synthetic polymers. As a result, understanding the effects of temperature, mechanical loadings and electrical stresses on polymeric insulation is technologically important and presents numerous scientific challenges.

Injection of charge into polymers results in energy transfer, chemical changes and light emission. Correlating material properties, electrical characteristics and electroluminescence is important in understanding the earliest stages of breakdown.

Marine Energy- subsea power transmission

The Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre Southampton are further developing their links to tackle a number of interdisciplinary issues in the area of subsea power transmission. Significant activity is ongoing in the area of subsea, high voltage power cables - an element of our electricity infrastructure which is becoming more and more critical as the levels of offshore renewable energy installations increase.

By drawing together world leading expertise in high voltage engineering and the marine environment, our projects seek to drive down the risk associated with offshire cable installations, which must operate reliably in challenging environments for periods in excess of 25 years. Key to this is further developing our understanding of how cable systems interact with the seabed, along with how the state of the seafloor around the cable evolves over the life of the asset. For example, the thermal properties of the seabed in which the cable is buried are critical to ensuring that the desired levels of power can be safely transmitted along the cable. The advanced thermal modelling techniques under development by our research, in tandem with work on advanced surveying techniques, will deliver a step change in how subsea cable systems are rated - reducing conservatism while ensuring reliability for the long term.