It is interesting to speculate that Nelson's victory at Trafalgar was due to an absence of biofouling on the ship's hulls (which were made of copper, a known biocide) allowing them superior speed.Biofouling is the undesirable accumulation of microorganisms, algae etc which occurs on submersed structures. The effects of biofouling are considerable; increased frictional drag, leading to increased fuel consumption and associated CO2, SOx, NOx emissions; restrictions in internal pipe dimensions leading to loss of flow, increased pressure and poor heat exchange in pipelines and commonly, the development of biofilms that provide habitats for the development of aggressive micro climates that are extremely acidic and lead to rapid rates of corrosion and structural failure, e.g., BP Purdoe Bay pipeline failure was due to microbial induced corrosion (MIC).The aim of this project is to commercialise a non-biocidal antifouling coating. The coating is based upon the concept that 'protective bacteria' encapsulated within a sol-gel matrix, and applied to a surface, will prevent harmful biofilms forming on that surface. The 'protective bacteria' in this case consist of endospores that are naturally ocurring in soil and are non-pathogenic. The concept has been proven in an EPSRC project that will end in October 2010.We propose to work with selected partners who manufacture coatings for the key markets that utilise antifouling coatings. The partners will help with commercial performance testing that will allow us to benchmark our coating against current commercially available coatings. We will address the requirement for the coating to be applied under industrial conditions to large surface areas and the feasibility of applying our coating on top of existing marine coatings that are applied to prevent corrosion. Importantly we will address the issue of scale-up of manufacture, particularly that of endospore production, something that traditional coating manufacturers are not familiar with. The partners will also advise on Health & Safety issues and provide guidance on regulatory requirements of the coating.
This Industrial Doctoral Centre (IDC) addresses a national need by building on the strengths of the existing EngD in Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies (MiNMaT) and the University of Surrey's excellent track record of working with industry to provide a challenging, innovative and transformative research environment in materials science and engineering. Following the proven existing pattern, each research engineer (RE) will undertake their research with their sponsor at their sponsor's premises. The commitment of potential sponsors is demonstrated in the significant number of accompanying letters of support. Taking place over all four years, carefully integrated intensive short courses (normally one week duration) form the taught component of the EngD. These courses build on each other and augment the research. By using a core set of courses, graduates from a number of physical science/engineering disciplines can acquire the necessary background in materials. This is essential as there are insufficient numbers of students who have studied materials at undergraduate level. The research focus of this IDC will be the solution of academically challenging and industrially relevant processing-microstructure-property relationship problems, which are the corner-stones of the discipline. This will be possible because REs will interact with internationally leading academics and have access to a suite of state-of-the-art characterisation instrumentation, enabling them to obtain extensive hands on experience. As materials features as one of the University's seven research priority areas, there is strong institutional support as demonstrated in the Vice Chancellor's supporting letter, which pledges 2.07M of new money for this IDC. As quality and excellence run through all aspects of this IDC, those graduating with an EngD in MiNMaT will be the leaders and innovators of tomorrow with the confidence, knowledge and research expertise to tackle the most challenging problems to keep UK industry ahead of its competitors.
In the UK there are more than four billion square metres of roofs and facades forming the building envelope. Most of this could potentially be used for harvesting solar energy and yet it covers less than 1.8 % of the UK land area. The shared vision for SPECIFIC is develop affordable large area solar collectors which can replace standard roofs and generate over one third of the UK's total target renewable energy by 2020 (10.8 GW peak and 19 TWh) reducing CO2 output by 6 million tonnes per year. This will be achieved with an annual production of 20 million m2 by 2020 equating to less than 0.5% of the available roof and wall area. SPECIFIC will realise this by quickly developing practical functional coated materials on metals and glass that can be manufactured by industry in large volumes to produce, store and release energy at point of use. These products will be suitable for fitting on both new and existing buildings which is important since 50% of the UKs current CO2 emissions come from the built environment.The key focus for SPECIFIC will be to accelerate the commercialisation of IP, knowledge and expertise held between the University partners (Swansea, ICL, Bath, Glyndwr, and Bangor) and UK based industry in three key areas of electricity generation from solar energy (photovoltaics), heat generation (solar thermal) and storage/controlled release. The combination of functionality will be achieved through applying functional coatings to metal and glass surfaces. Critical to this success is the active involvement in the Centre of the steel giant Corus/Tata and the glass manufacturer Pilkington. These two materials dominate the facings of the building stock and are surfaces which can be engineered. In addition major chemical companies (BASF and Akzo Nobel as two examples) and specialist suppliers to the emerging PV industry (e.g. Dyesol) are involved in the project giving it both academic depth and industrial relevance. To maximise open innovation colleagues from industry will be based SPECIFIC some permanently and some part time. SPECIFIC Technologists will also have secondments to partner University and Industry research and development facilities.SPECIFIC will combine three thriving research groups at Swansea with an equipment armoury of some 3.9m into one shared facility. SPECIFIC has also been supported with an equipment grant of 1.2 million from the Welsh Assembly Government. This will be used to build a dedicated modular roll to roll coating facility with a variety of coating and curing functions which can be used to scale up and trial successful technology at the pre-industrial scale. This facility will be run and operated by three experienced line technicians on secondment from industry. The modular coating line compliments equipment at Glyndwr for scaling up conducting oxide deposition, at CPi for barrier film development and at Pilkington for continuous application of materials to float glass giving the grouping unrivalled capability in functional coating. SPECIFIC is a unique business opportunity bridging a technology gap, delivering affordable novel macro-scale micro-generation, making a major contribution to UK renewable energy targets and creating a new export opportunity for off grid power in the developing world. It will ultimately generate thousands high technology jobs within a green manufacturing sector, creating a sustainable international centre of excellence in functional coatings where multi-sector applications are developed for next generation manufacturing.
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Industrial Functional Coatings: COATED2 will extend and enhance doctoral training provision provided by the current EPSRC CDT COATED. This new CDT will provide 40 EngD research engineers (REs) over 4 cohorts beginning in 2015 to provide critical support to the EPSRC/TSB funded SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) hosted by Swansea University. The main aim of SPECIFIC is to rapidly develop and up-scale functional coated materials on steel and glass that generate, store and release energy creating buildings as power stations. In the UK more than 4billion m2 of roofs and facades could be used to harvest solar energy. SPECIFIC's vision is to use such surfaces to generate up to one 1/3 of the UK's target renewable energy by the 2020s. This is based on using 20million m2 by 2020, less than 0.5% of the available area. Development of such coatings will lead to an enhancement of value in current manufacturers and the evolution of new industries generating wealth and jobs in the UK. This CDT will furnish these evolving industries with highly skilled graduates whilst providing leaders of industry to existing manufacturers and substrate producers. SPECIFIC supported by COATED REs has made rapid progress and a pilot production line has been established at the IKC opened by Vince Cable MP and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones in 2012. The input of current REs into the IKC has led to 2 potential commercial products and 8 patents during the first 2 years of operation. The pilot line provides dedicated up-scaling capabilities to take technologies from lab to production in a matter of days or weeks rather than years. As such, these world-class facilities provide a dynamic environment for the development, up scaling and production of innovative functional coated products and the CDT therefore fulfills the EPSRC priority area of complex manufactured products. Not only this but the technical focus of products researched and up-scaled in the CDT will support other priority themes including solar, energy storage, functional materials and sustainable use of materials and thus provides a rapid route through Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-6 for a number of critical future technologies. The COATED2 programme will continue to provide research and training in the area of functional coatings that will underpin the research and scale-up activities occurring at SPECIFIC. The brief of the CDT will be enhanced to support the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing (CIM) in Large Area Electronics of which the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC) at Swansea University is a key partner. The WCPC activities are critical to both SPECIFIC and the CIM as the development of large scale printing process are key for the production of the functional coatings technologies developed at SPECIFIC. Thus, REs will directly support activities that will influence both large-scale EPSRC projects. Further enhancement will come in the form of research aligned with Imperial College London (ICL) as a number of collaborative projects are active with ICL linked to Plastic Electronics and their CDT in this field through SPECIFIC and the WCPC. The strategic working partnership between Swansea and partner universities will be strengthened in 2013 by a £6.6million Welsh Government investment in a Solar Energy Futures Lab bringing leading ICL and Oxford University scientists to the IKC to support the science behind innovation for the full period of the COATED2 CDT. This will provide COATED2 REs with access to these scientists and benefit from the synergy of complementary projects supported through each University/CDT with cross fertilisation through the IKC. This activity of RE support for the IKC and CIM with cluster projects involving partner institutions provides a flourishing and vibrant research environment with world class facilities on hand to facilitate research and success.