Annex IV distributes metadata forms (questionnaires) to solicit information from researchers around the world who are exploring the environmental effects of marine renewable energy. This page provides a description and contact information related to the research. Content is updated on an annual basis.

SuperGen Marine Energy Research

Research Study Annex IV

Title: SuperGen Marine Energy Research
Start Date:
October 01, 2003
Technology Type:
Info Updated:
June 28, 2017
Study Status: 
In Progress
Princple Investigator Contact Information: 

Name: Robin Wallace


Project Description: 

The research of the Marine Energy Consortium focuses on developing the potential for future exploitation of the marine energy resource. The environmental research in the SuperGen program is distributed among the following work packages:

  •  SuperGen Phase 1 Work Package 12: The Economic, Environmental and Social Impact of New Marine Technologies for the Production of Electricity.
  • SuperGen Phase 2 Work Package 10: Ecological Consequences of Tidal and Wave Energy Conversion: aimed to establish the sensitivity of marine environments to the artificial extraction of energy from tidal currents and waves, to enable the quantification of the risk from device developments and for subsequent mitigation, monitoring or avoidance strategies to be evaluated.
  • SuperGen Phase 3: Environmental interaction – to understand the 3D time varying interaction between single and multiple devices and the energy and natural environment arising from the local and large-scale abstraction of energy through electricity generation.
Funding Source: 

UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Location of Research: 

Strangford Narrows (Strangforth Loch; Northern Ireland) and Orkney coast.

Project Aims: 

The research of the marine energy consortium focuses on the future exploitation of the marine energy resource.


Phase 1 undertook generic research with the following long-term objectives:

  1. To increase knowledge and understanding of device-sea interactions of energy converters from model-scale in the laboratory to full size in the open sea;
  2. Reduce risk and uncertainty for stakeholders in the development and deployment of technology;
  3. Enable progression of marine technology and energy into true positions in future energy portfolios


Phase 2 of the programme includes work on: device arrays and how these will influence local and regional environmental conditions, radical design approaches which take into account new philosophies of design guidance; ensuring that numerical and physical design support is consistent and robust; the challenges posed by design in mixed tidal and wave environments; system control in complex non-linear and evolving environments; the complex challenges posed by fixing, mooring and recovery of marine systems; the economic challenges posed by the variable and intermittent nature of the marine resource; the sparse information available to predict and assess the long term reliability of marine energy systems and how an increased understanding of all of these issues can be best disseminated within the stakeholder community.


Phase 3 involved two £3million research funding calls by the SuperGen UK Centre for Marine Energy Research. The remit of the first call, made in 2011, was as follows:

  • Large scale interactive coupled 3D modelling for wave and tidal energy resource and environmental impact.
  • Technology for device and environmental monitoring
  • Understanding extreme loading events and impact on devices and arrays.


The second call was intended to stimulate novel research that focussed on far term goals that could influence marine energy in 2050. The topics of interest with a focus on the environmental impact included developing an understanding of very large array systems and their impact on the marine environment.

Project Progress: 

The two research calls commissioned in phase 3 of the project have so far led to the funding of 13 new research projects managed by the UKCMER hub. Those projects involved in research on the environmental impact of marine energy include:

  • TeraWatt
  • Interactions of flow, tidal stream turbines and local sediment bed under combined waves and tidal conditions
  • Large scale interactive coupled modelling of environmental impacts of marine renewable energy farms
  • EcoWatt2050

Phase 3 of the SuperGen project ended in September 2016. The existing hub of UKCMER was renewed in Phase 4 in October 2016. Phase 4 of UKCMER will continue to:

  • Conduct world-class fundamental and applied research that assists the wave, tidal and offshore wind energy sectors to accelerate deployment and ensure growth in generating capacity towards 2030 and 2050 targets;
  • Train the next generation of UK, European and international researchers, industry graduates and policy makers;
  • Expand and operate an inclusive marine network of academic researchers, industry and policy partners and international collaborators;
  • Provide the highest quality of policy engagement and knowledge transfer.

There are significant common needs fundamental to applied research spanning wave, tidal, offshore wind and, now, floating offshore wind energy technologies:

  • Analysis and performance prediction of fully coupled hydro- aero- and electro-dynamic devices;
  • Fluid structure interaction;
  • Cost effective manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance;
  • Survival of extreme and fatigue loadings;
  • Environmental and economic viability.
Key Findings: 

Research is wide ranging and aims to fill the many knowledge gaps, both technical and environmental, in order to progress the industry towards commercialisation. Visit the website for further info.

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