REMS Partners

Cranfield has a clear mission of deep business-engagement supporting highly interdisciplinary research and education. It is one of the top five research-intensive universities in the UK and has a demonstrated track record in the capacity-building of early-stage researchers through doctoral training, graduating 10% of the UK’s engineering and science MSc, PhD and EngDs. It has a world leading activity in structural integrity, risk and reliability research particularly related to the offshore applications and supporting this is an ocean laboratory with towing/wave tank facilities along with large-scale structures test rigs (up to 2.5 MN capacity) and a high performance computing platform. The Cranfield University offshore renewable energy engineering activity led by Prof Feargal Brennan evolved from a sustained world-leading research presence in the offshore Oil & Gas sector for over thirty years and now covers a spectrum of applications from wave, tidal stream and wind power. Maintenance of Offshore Energy plant by optimizing design for “though life service” is another key strength of our bid via the recently awarded £5.9M EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing, led by Cranfield on “Through life engineering services”. The Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre (Prof Stewart Williams) develops large-scale net-shape manufacturing processes alongside new joining technologies. The University has unique industrial-scale structures and materials processing laboratories e.g. hyperbaric work and our world unique facility for developing joining methods at water depths of up to 2,500m.

Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science has a substantial research portfolio, including much that is directly supported by industry. As a general engineering department there are no barriers between different engineering disciplines, so much of the research is multi-disciplinary, including for marine energy. Our reputation for research is sustained and outstanding. In REF2014 Oxford had the top 4* rating in General Engineering for overall and for impact, and finished top based on the widely adopted Grade Point Average (GPA). Our expertise in offshore wind focuses mostly on geotechnical engineering problems. We have a leading international reputation for research on foundations for offshore wind turbines (Prof Byron Byrne, Prof Guy Houlsby (Rankine Lecturer in 2014), Prof Chris Martin), building on our more general research since 1980s on offshore foundations. Our work addresses gravity bases, piled foundations, suction installed foundations, mono- and multi-footing structures as well as novel ideas including helical screw pile foundations. We have developed foundation design guidance for installation, ultimate capacity, stiffness and response under monotonic and cyclic loading. The work ranges from detailed laboratory studies, using bespoke loading rigs in Oxford, to computational studies (Prof Harvey Burd), through to field instrumentation and interpretation of field data (Prof Ross McAdam). In 2011 Prof Byrne delivered the ICE’s biennial Géotechnique Lecture on “Foundation Design for Offshore Wind Turbines” outlining the state of the art, based on Oxford research. We recently completed a major Joint Industry Project, the PISA project, focused on developing new design methods for monopiles that support offshore wind turbines. The work involved computational studies, theoretical work and field scale testing, with the results already being applied by the industrial funding partners. Our work can be applied to wave and tidal energy applications, and to fixed or floating structures. Additional expertise is in structural dynamics (Prof Tony Blakeborough, Prof Martin Williams, Prof Manolis Chatzis), fluid mechanics (Prof Tom Adcock) and tidal energy (Prof Richard Willden), where we have a significant on-going research effort.