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Our Energy Expertise

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Energy Conversion & Storage - Case Study

Ceimig Ltd - A spin out from the University of St Andrews. Ceimig manufacture fine chemicals including catalysts. One of the products that they sell is a Platinum based catalyst for use in PEM fuel cells. The product currently has several issues (i) the platinum catalyst is embedded on carbon and degrades in operation; (ii) the catalyst surface area can be improved for better performance and (ii) the catalyst is mobile within the electrochemical cell and can cause short circuiting in the cell.

An ETP supported project with the University of St Andrews has allowed the company to look at the catalyst and the support material. Through two analytical techniques, Ceimig has been able to develop a mechanism of producing a more stable catalyst with a good surface area.

While further work is required to address all the issues, Ceimig are in a stronger position to develop and market their new product.

 

 

 

If you would like to find out more about what ETP can do for companies in the Energy Conversion & Storage field contact energyconversion@etp-scotland.ac.uk

 

Wind Energy - Case Studies

Xi Engineering: Xi Engineering had previous experience working with the ETP on a separate project involving the Centre for Signal and Image Processing at Strathclyde. Their core business is to provide noise and vibration solutions to a wide range of industries with a predominant focus on the renewables sector. One issue that came to light in the last 6 months is the problem of tonal noise in a wind turbine tower. The tower is known to have several resonant frequencies corresponding with the main operating modes of the drive- train. Thus if any of these modes are excited by the tower it will result in amplification of vibration and emission of problematic tonal noise. The ETP funded a consultancy project, in conjunction with Heriot-Watt to investigate the use and viability of Xi’s Advanced Particle Damping (APD) pods to mitigate these vibrations within the frequency band of 100Hz-145Hz. The project looked at exciting a steel plate at the desired frequencies and investigated how much of an improvement the use of APD pods may have in reducing tonal noise and therefore displacement. The results were promising and showed a reduction of up to 15dB with a number of APD pods placed at regular intervals across the steel plate.

Following on from this, there were discussions about using the afore-mentioned project as a baseline and expanding the scope to look at noise mitigation offshore. However, unfortunately this project was not submitted within the constrained time-frame left of KENII. Therefore, any further work was placed on hold. However, this project is still viable and there is now an opportunity to engage with Xi on future studies in KENII. The company have expressed how positive the experience of working with Heriot-Watt has been, specifically in terms of gaining access to testing facilities which they do not currently have.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Linknode: The ETP contacted Linknode primarily because of their locality to Strathclyde. There had been previous engagement but nothing substantial in terms of support or indeed a consultancy project. Linknode’s key area of expertise lies in software development for mobile devices. They provide mobile 3D visualisation apps and services with specialism in the convergence of location, sensors, devices and model data for geospatial augmented reality (AR) - GIality. Their flagship solution, known as VentusAR, has already been commercialised for wind, solar and grid infrastructure planning projects within industry. This application enables in-field visualisation and allows a development to be visualised from any location, pre-planned or not. It helps dynamically assess, reduces return visits and shortens development cycles. This means lowers costs, improved use of resources time saving. However, one issue that is currently being faced is how to adequately assess terrain landform features from captured images and how to process them in the minimum amount of time. As it stands, any discrepancy between the virtual reality reconstruction and the image has to be manually calibrated to account for roll, pitch and yaw error relative to the camera’s fixed position. As such, Linknode hoped to solve this issue by collaborating with Strathclyde’s signal processing department.

 

 

 


 

Strathclyde (CeSIP) have developed algorithms which can reconstruct exact 3D visualisations of infrastructure using captured images from a camera/or robotic device. Linknode hoped to use this to produce an exact 3D reconstruction of a potential site built through a generated 3D point mesh. This would then be validated with reference to the Ordnance Survey open data (currently used to validate their existing software). Unfortunately, as this was a research project, the scope changed throughout the project. The end result was a quantitative comparison of certain algorithms used for 3D reconstruction applied to this problem. Whilst not the original intended output, the company were satisfied just knowing the problems that need to be solved using this methodology have been highlighted. As they are local, there is plenty of scope for future partnerships and collaborations.

 

 

 

 

If you would like to find out how ETP can help companies in the Wind Energy field contact wind@etp-scotland.ac.uk

Energy Utilisation - Case Studies

Free Flow Technologies (FFT), is a Glasgow based electric bicycle manufacturer, who are developing a lightweight and efficient pedal assist e-bike, they are looking to achieve this through innovative gearing system technology. This technology is being brought to the market in 2015 and conforms to standards set by British, CE and EN standard authorities. ETP has supported their commercial proposal by assisting the company to work with the Strathclyde University Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) in provisioning an optimum design and production methodology for the ebikes innovative gearing system.

Whole Life Consultants Ltd (WLC Ltd) is a spin out company of the University of Dundee. It was founded in 2004, to commercialise the results of research projects and expertise developed by the Construction Management Research Unit (CMRU). WLC Ltd conducts first class contract research, solving problems others cannot solve. Drawing on cutting edge research we offer consultancy only in niche markets where we have specialist and highly developed expertise. We disseminate our research and the tools we have developed through a variety of knowledge transfer mechanisms including training and the provision of pragmatic guidance to practitioners on a wide range of subjects. WLC Ltd’s core activities are contract research and consultancy in the field of construction, including: Whole life costing, risk based asset management, sustainability assessment, Labour forecasting and productivity improvement
The consultancy funding we have received from ETP has led to the development of the functional specification for an Integrated Sustainability Benchmarking Tool (ISBT).    WLC Ltd have received useful support from our academic partner (Glasgow Caledonian University).  We benefited from access to the skills and expertise of the academic and research staff within the School of Engineering and Built Environment.  The assistance we have received from ETP has led to the development of the functional specification for an Integrated Sustainability Benchmarking Tool (ISBT).  The support has also informed WLC Ltd of the challenges that need to be overcome in order to develop a fully commercial ISBT. The concept of ISBT will allow the user to assess sustainability performance of buildings in a simpler and holistic way and provide more cost effective ways of assessing and benchmarking the sustainability performance of buildings.  It will also provide the means of efficiently analysing sustainability performance in order to find the best whole life sustainable design solution of a building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to find out more about what ETP can do for companies in the Energy Utilisation field contact energyutilisation@etp-scotland.ac.uk

Marine Energy - Case Study

Maritime Craft Services: MCS is a marine vessel owner/operator based on the Clyde. The company has significant experience in the operation of offshore energy support vessels and is in the process of procuring a SWATH vessel for this purpose. The SWATH (Small Water Plane Area Twin Hull) is designed to perform well in rough sea conditions, for example enabling wind turbine access in greater wave heights than other vessels. The ETP provided funding for a team of academics from the University of Strathclyde (Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering department, NAOME) to carry out a study of the new MCS vessel, analysing its performance in expected sea conditions and assessing the relative benefits of the vessel type over other MCS craft. This work allows MCS to gain confidence in the operation capabilities of the new vessel and plan future marine energy market positioning. In turn, NAOME has continued to build its modelling capability, including the use of the NEWDRIFT software for seakeeping and wave induced loads analysis of ships and arbitrarily shaped floating structures.

If you would like to find out more about what ETP can do for companies in the Marine Energy field contact marine@etp-scotland.ac.uk.

Case Study - Brathadair Ltd

The Scotch Whisky industry is one of the most productive industries in Scotland. During the production of Scotch malt whisky, a large volume of pot ale is produced. Pot ale is a concentrated liquid-solid mixture, rich in COD and nutrients, whose disposal causes significant costs. Also, pot ale contains a significant amount of copper which prevents its use as sheep feed (copper is toxic to sheep) and causes additional environmental concerns. Brathadair Ltd has been developing micro-bubble technology that can effectively separate the solid from the liquid and assist in cleaning up the waste water. Brathadair Ltd came in contact with ETP through Interface and linked to Heriot-Watt University to identify specific protein that act as surfactant. Later, the company looked for copper content in pot ale, at University of Aberdeen through ETP. Recently, they received a Kick start award from Scottish Enterprise for further development of their technology.

Nova Innovation Ltd

Nova Innovation First Tidal User of FloWave                       

In May 2014 Nova Innovation became the first tidal energy company to make use of the FloWave wave and tidal test facility at the University of Edinburgh through support provided by the Energy Technology Partnership.

FloWave is capable of repeatedly simulating sea conditions at scale to test marine renewable energy devices.  Nova Innovation are currently developing what could potentially be the world’s first  tidal array in the Shetlands and were able to put the new facility through its paces whilst testing scale models of their tidal energy converter.

Simon Forrest from Nova Innovation said ‘We understand that to remain at the forefront of the tidal energy sector Nova Innovation has to keep investing in R&D.  Access to FloWave which was part funded by the ETP has enabled us to accelerate the development of our tidal technology.’

ETP has helped Nova to build strong links with the university sector in Scotland.  The company recognises the value that access to academic expertise can provide through programmes such as the ETP Consultancy Fund and the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme.

Albatern

Albatern is developing wave energy devices to produce electricity for customers who are working off-grid in fish farms and similar sites.

 ETP has helped the company with two projects. 

 In the first, expert advice was provided to carry out structural analysis for novel fibre reinforced plastic components used in their devices.

In the second, ETP supported access to the ground breaking new Flowave Test Tank facility at University of Edinburgh.  This was important to understand mooring loadings and the behaviour of Albatern’s WaveNET coupled array device in waves from different directions, where the new tank was able to provide answers which are difficult to get elsewhere.

Smarter Grid Solutions Ltd.

Smarter Grid Solutions Ltd, the Glasgow-based smart grid technology company, was already working on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Strathclyde when it engaged with the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP).

The KTP was focused on the delivery of a range of real-time deterministic smart grid devices and applications that would allow utility companies to improve the utilisation of their grid infrastructure. The £100k-plus project runs from early 2012 to mid-2014, with a KTP associate recruited to lead on the research work. The knowledge partner in the project, Strathclyde’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, was also the original home of Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) before it spun out of the university in 2008.
When SGS then engaged with the ETP, the company’s Development Director and co-Founder, Graham Ault was keen for them to learn more about SGS international competitors, the technologies they were developing and the intellectual property they owned. A University of Strathclyde Research Associate within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering was approached to undertake the market research work and produce a report for the company. Working part-time over two months, the research associate ultimately delivered a market research report for the company that improved its insight into the competitive landscape of active network management technologies.
Graham Ault said:

“The ETP project was useful in providing us with an additional resource capable of undertaking a technical competitor analysis that gave us greater visibility and insight into potential competitors and their technologies. As with our ongoing KTP, engagement with ETP helped SGS further develop its strong links with a key partner university in Scotland.”
 

Case Study - Celtic Renewables

 
Latest news -
Celtic Renewables lands £11million grant after winning DfT competition

Celtic Renewables is the biggest winner in a competition run by the Department for Transport (DfT), earning an £11million grant to help it build the world’s first plant dedicated to the production of advanced biofuel from the residues of the whisky industry. The Edinburgh-based company is one of three advanced biofuel producers to share in a £25million funding pot.
Celtic Renewables is commercialising an innovative and patented technology, originally developed by the Biofuel Research Centre (BfRC) at Edinburgh Napier University.


Scotland’s £4 billion malt whisky industry produces more than 2 billion litres of pot ale and 600,000 tons of draff annually, which are problematic low value by-products from the whisky production process. The innovation is based on the ABE (Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol) fermentation process which uses bacteria to convert the residual sugars in the draff and pot ale into bio-butanol – a next generation biofuel – and four other high value commodities. To assist in the scale-up of this innovation from bench-top in the laboratory to pilot commercial scale, and to develop more understanding of the metabolism of the bacteria involved in the process, ETP has supported a studentship in research collaboration with Prof. Martin Tangney, Edinburgh Napier University and Celtic Renewables.

“Most countries do not have oil but all have access to biological material that can be converted into biofuels that can establish their own energy security.” Prof. Tangney, Biofuels, Whiskey and Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr_u7dKwg_w
David Green joined the team at Napier University under the ETP studentship program. He is very excited about working on a research project that has a direct commercial impact and is of benefit to society as well.
"As a young research scientist it is very exciting to be at the forefront of such cutting edge research. I feel privileged to have this opportunity, I will not waste it".
David has the opportunity to work with industrial co-workers as well as two main supervisors (Prof. Martin Tangney and Dr. Eve Bird). David found that the main research challenge is bending clostridia to his and the laboratory's will; bugs will be bugs! His previous studies include optimising alcohol yields for the whisky industry and maximizing bioethanol production from waste substrates.
Mark Simmers, CEO Celtic Renewables Ltd, shared his view on receiving supports from ETP.                      

“The development of a new process technology requires a strong technical base in an organisation, and the ETP support has enabled Celtic Renewables to increase the capacity of its technical team, which will hopefully shorten the time-to-market for the technology.”