Bruce Wen: Research and development in novel alternative renewable energy technology

Researcher: Bruce Wen

Research and education in renewable technology has strategic importance on an international stage. The EU target of generating 20% energy from renewable sources in the next 8 years and about 50% in the next 30 years needs proactive engagement in research and education to meet these targets. Bruce Wen is currently a BU PhD researcher looking into “Research and development in novel alternative renewable energy technology.” He has a BEng degree from Swansea University and interests in Renewable Technology education and research.

Strategic importance in terms of academic engagement in Renewable Technology research and education has been recognised through the BU Renewable Technology theme and across the BU Technology & Design research theme.

This theme has led to strong collaborative links with industries interested in renewable technology. Future Energy Source Ltd is fully funding (£49K plus in kind support £50K/year lab staff over four years, £10K/year estates costs over four years & £20K lab equipments in solar-thermal simulation and thermodynamics expansion lab) PhD research in “Research and development in novel alternative renewable energy technology” and a second project (£48K) in “Experimental investigation and mathematical modelling of dynamic equilibrium of novel thermo fluids for renewable technology applications.”

In addition, another short term research project looking into quantitative assessment of existing bench testing in    Renewable Technologies (£3600) is funded by Future Energy Source Ltd [Dr Z Khan PI].


Project Objectives

  1. Provide innovative design solutions for maximising the potentials of a novel technology in supplying renewable energy (heat).
  2. Develop the technology to produce renewable energy efficiently with low maintenance and operational costs, high durability and very low/no burden on rare-earth materials.


Methodology and Techniques

The research methodology is a quantitative approach that incorporates performance and simulation analyses in terms of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer techniques.

Advanced analytical tools such as ThAT@SDRC(thermodynamic analytical tools) and MPT@SDRC (multi-physics tools) are employed to develop a virtual experimental environment with physical parameters defined through experimental results. This produces performance data to optimise thermal efficiency & system performance at the same time avoiding expansive costs (materials, labour, and energy).

The following R&D process is employed to develop the technology with continuous improvements:

  1. Bench testing design & commissioning
  2. Experimental research
  3. Analytical research


Future Perspectives

Academic impact: This research project will create new knowledge in the area of fluid mechanics, heat transfer, thermodynamics and materials.

Societal impact: This research project will develop a novel technology to supply economical renewable energy. This will bring significant societal benefits in the form of cost savings.