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Offshore engineers to benefit from wave modelling tool developed at City University London

Designers of offshore structures are set to benefit from a software tool under development at City University London that can model the behaviour of extreme ocean waves more accurately, efficiently and consistently than current technology.
by Luke Nava

Designers of offshore structures are set to benefit from a software tool under development at City University London that can model the behaviour of extreme ocean waves more accurately, efficiently and consistently than current technology.

The University has received £103k from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Finance South East, to commercialise research by its Hydrodynamic Engineering Group through a new collaboration with GL Noble Denton – a global technical advisor to the oil and gas industry, which will also contribute £50k to the work.

The year-long project will deliver an application to predict the wave force that offshore structures – whether oil rigs, wind turbines or floating tidal power stations – are subjected to. The modelling is based on parameters such as weather conditions, wave height and wave spectrum, and will enable engineers to create optimised designs with a reduced risk of failure.

The project is being led by Qingwei Ma, Professor of Hydrodynamics at City, who says: “Interest in building offshore structures is growing rapidly, as oil and gas exploration moves to deeper waters and marine renewable projects take-off. Ensuring that structures are resilient to the harsh ocean environment is key and we hope that our software will make this process more reliable.”

Dr R V Ahilan, Managing Director of Advanced Engineering Consulting at GL Noble Denton, adds: “Our engineers are engaged in developing offshore assets the world over, which must be safe, sustainable and affordable. The research at City will aid this, by enabling us to generate designs with a much better understanding of the forces that they must stand up to under extreme conditions.”

The new funding was secured with support from City University London's Research and Enterprise team. The University has a growing portfolio of cleantech investments, including Totempower Energy Systems – a start-up that is creating small-scale wind turbines based on a City aerodynamics patent.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.