Frontiers of solid mechanics for energy transition

Monday, 01 - Friday, 05 Jul 2024


Dr. Peter Giddings, Chief Engineer for Energy at the National Composites Centre, will be presenting at Frontiers of solid mechanics for the energy transition, held by the International Union for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM), taking place, 1st - 5th July, a the University of Aberdeen.

Energy security, provision of green and sustainable energy, and the impact of global warming are some of the global challenges the world currently faces.  An important aspect of addressing some of the negative impacts of global warming involves a decisive move away from fossil fuel-based energy generation and utilisation (e.g., for heating and transportation) to renewable energy sources.  Engineers and scientists have made significant progress in the development of greener and sustainable energy sources, such as wind power, hydrogen, wave power, solar, fuel cells, etc.  Wind power is rapidly becoming a major source of electricity generation in many countries, while in contrast, there is currently very limited use of hydrogen as fuel, mainly in some automobiles. 

Apart from the ongoing debate regarding the efficiency/sustainability of green versus blue hydrogen, there are challenges regarding safe and efficient storage of hydrogen and re-purposing/re-use of existing oil and gas pipelines and infrastructure for the transportation of hydrogen to homes where it is needed for domestic heating.  Assessing the integrity of the existing pipelines infrastructure, predicting the long-term corrosion and degradation due to the interaction between hydrogen and the pipeline material, and the quantification of the uncertainty in the prediction are still a challenge. 

Despite the rapid growth in the wind power industry, there is a continuous need to improve the efficiency of wind turbines by reducing energy losses due to friction and wear.  Furthermore, many wind turbine blades get damaged and require repairs after 2 to 5 years of operation, but replacing the damaged blades is usually the last option due to the cost of removal, transportation, and of a new blade.  Thus, life extension of wind turbine blades through better monitoring and prediction of degradation and materials selection and/or cost-effective repair of damaged blades, as well as development of an efficient and sustainable recycling technology for wind turbine blades are still a challenge.

This symposium aims to provide opportunity for researchers to share knowledge on the wide-ranging contribution of mechanics to addressing some of these challenges. The symposium will cover, but not limited to, the following topics on the mechanics, materials and technology in relation to hydrogen storage and transportation, and life-extension, design optimisation and decommissioning of wind turbines:

  1. Hydrogen storage and distribution: pressure vessel storage, underground storage, cryogenic liquid; solid state storage, etc.
  2. Damage tolerance – wind turbine and hydrogen infrastructure.
  3. Condition monitoring, e.g. physics informed machine learning, stochastic/statistical approach, digital twin, etc. (for both wind turbine and hydrogen infrastructure).
  4. Hydrogen fuel cell technologies for automobiles.
  5. Hydrogen technologies for aviation and ships.
  6. Repurposing of oil and gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport and storage.
  7. Decommissioning of wind turbines.
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