France has the second largest maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ), behind the United States. This expanse of 11 million km² harbors an incredible potential for marine renewable energy.
Since 2011, ENSTA Bretagne and its partners have been offering a program devoted to marine renewable energies. These challenges are also at the crux of many multidisciplinary research initiatives: structure durability and stability, underwater robotics, hydrography, oceanography, etc.
France's only program entirely devoted to marine renewable energies
This Advanced Master runs over 2 semesters and trains engineers, future project managers or program leaders, in the development of MRE systems and production fields. This program is accredited by the French Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and certified by Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique. It is taught by ENSTA Bretagne, the French Naval Academy, IMT Atlantique as well as UBO (University of Brest).
ENSTA Bretagne is a board member of France Énergies Marines (the national ITE institute – Institut pour la Transition Energétique – based in Brest and devoted to the development of MRE) and is an MRE coordinator for the competitiveness cluster Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique.
- Advanced Master in Marine Renewable Energies
Applied research to develop MRE
Research focuses on the durability of these systems at sea in order to reduce their operating costs and on the optimization of their seabed connection.
Other research is also carried out on the composites used in MREs. The use of composites, together with a composite-to-metal bonding technique, boosts the competitiveness of the MRE sector. The challenge lies in integrating the life cycle analysis from the design phase to produce systems able to operate durably at sea, with minimal maintenance and optimized dismantling.
These "diplôme d'ingénieur" programs contribute to the development of the MRE sector:
- a 3-year program for MSc degree holders
- Enrollment in ENSTA Bretagne and affiliation with the UBL-MathSTIC doctoral school and the Joint Research Center Lab-STICC, or with the SPI (engineering sciences) doctoral school and IRDL.
The mechanics research teams at ENSTA Bretagne form an integral component of IRDL (UMR 6027): the leading research center in marine mechanical systems based in Brittany. It brings together teams from ENSTA Bretagne, Université Bretagne Sud, ENIB, UBO and CNRS.
The sea is a hostile, complex environment about which much remains to be learned.
Numerous information and communication technology research projects have been carried out on this subject at ENSTA Bretagne on themes such as measuring and observing the marine environment using underwater drones, and analysis of sediment movement.
Research project example: The PHYSIC project (hydro-sedimentary process in interaction with extreme currents) is directly linked to the marine renewable energies sector. This project is funded by the Investments for the Future initiative (PIA)
The following are examples of theses pursued in 2017 at the IRDL lab on the ENSTA Bretagne campus:
- Modeling flow in a wave energy capture system (in partnership with GEPS Techno and Ifremer)
- Rapid characterization of the behavior of adhesives under hybrid degradation conditions (a French National Research Agency COSICO project)
- Study of the composite duct of a horizontal axis tidal turbine (financed by the Region of Brittany)