Dr Matt Lewis

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Job title: Research Fellow
Division: School of Ocean Sciences
Organisation: Bangor University
Tags: Early Career Forum, Fellowship: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Researcher


I am a Research Fellow at Bangor University in physical oceanography, focusing on marine renewable energy. My research uses computer models to numerically simulate wave and tide processes, including how these physical processes interact and how they may change in the future under climate change scenarios. 

My Fellowship

Matt Lewis is an oceanographer and hydrodynamic modeller. His research will investigate the global tidal-stream energy resource, with the aim to provide the UK with a high-tech renewable energy industry. Matt’s research will focus three key questions:

1. What is the potential size of the global tidal energy industry?
Present offshore renewable energy research methods are unsuitable and untested, making the global tidal resource and potential industry size unknown. For example, coral reef passes, biological communities (e.g. kelp beds) and ocean currents, could, by accelerating tidal currents, improve the tidal energy resource and commercially viability.
2. How do conditions vary in space and time?
For sustainable device design, realistic oceanographic conditions must be characterised for the lifetime of deployments, and cascaded through device-scale models (e.g. CFD); yet oceanographic conditions, and the impact of climate change, is largely unknown. One exciting example is that previously unviable tidal energy regions may become economically viable in the future as sea-level rise increases tidal current speeds in some regions.
3. Are current methods of suitable as the industry develops?
As the industry evolves and sites around the world are developed, methods to simulate the dynamic interaction between devices, resource and the environment, will be required. For example, the interaction of devices with waves and tides, is needed for efficient and resilient tidal energy device design.

I applied for an EPSRC Fellowship in Offshore Renewable Energy, within the "sustainable use and characterisation of natural resources". I aim to develop methodologies to simulate device interaction with the resource and environment including future climate projections. Such tools can be applied to understand the interaction between tidal-stream resource-device-environment beyond the limited number of first generation temperature regions currently being developed. The output of such models can also be applied to wave energy and tidal range energy resource and impacts understanding, and characterise likely ocean conditions for the coming century to inform resilient and efficient global device designs.

This Fellowship will allow me to become an independent and world leading researcher. This funding will enable me to forge international collaborations, pursue my research interests and develop my skills within coupled earth-system process modelling. Indeed, the Fellowship scheme will allow me to better understand the marine system: e.g. how physical process interactions may change in the future, or combining computer models of biological and physical processes. I am actively working in a number of research areas; future flood risk, estuarine processes modelling (flooding risk, morphodynamics), bio-engineering of marine renewables, tidal energy, wave-tide interaction modelling, baroclinlic modeling and larvae modelling