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Photo of Dr Helen C M Smith

Dr Helen C M Smith

Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy


Telephone: 01326 254186

Dr Helen Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy, with a primary research focus on resource and impact assessment for the marine environment. Her main area of interest is the development of numerical tools to support 'blue growth' in areas such as marine energy and aquaculture, through enhanced understanding of the wave and tidal regimes and the potential impacts on the physical marine environment. Her work also contributes to the other research activity in the Offshore Renewable Energy group, which includes hydrodynamics and marine operations, offshore reliability, and offshore technology.

Helen is currently Co-I on the InnovateUK/BBSRC-funded project 'Lobster Grower 2 - Assessing the technical, economic and environmental potential for a novel candidate aquaculture species', led by the National Lobster Hatchery, which aims to develop innovative solutions to establish a commercial model for European Lobster Aquaculture. She leads the hydrodynamic measurement and modelling aspects of the work, aiming to characterise the wave and tidal regime across the field demonstration site in St Austell Bay to aid understanding of how hydrodynamic conditions affect lobster growth and survival rates. Helen is also Co-I on the Interreg VA 'Intelligent Community Energy' (ICE) project, working with partners in the UK and France to develop innovative smart energy solutions for isolated communities in the Channel region.

Helen has worked on a number of other European projects including MERiFIC (‘Marine Energy in Far Peripheral and Island Communities’), MARINET (‘Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network’), and EquiMar (‘Equitable Assessment of Marine Energy Converters’), a three-year FP7 project which brought together a range of industrial and research partners from across Europe to develop protocols for all aspects of marine energy development. Helen was the lead Exeter researcher on the NERC/Defra-funded EBAO ('Optimising Array Form for Energy Extraction and Environmental Benefit') project, which developed robust modelling methodologies for marine energy developments to optimise the environmental outcomes. She has collaborated with Sandia National Laboratories in the US in the development of SNL-SWAN, a wave energy converter array simulation tool. She is also a member of the PRIMaRE research consortium, a network of research institutions in SW England undertaking research and development activities to support and advance the marine renewable energy industry at a regional, national and international level.

Helen teaches on the undergraduate Renewable Energy Engineering programme, leading modules on ‘Applied Computing for Energy Studies’ and ‘Marine Renewable Energy’. She contributes to the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE), where she leads the ‘Marine Renewable Resource Assessment’ module. She is primary supervisor for five PhD and EngD students (Jon Hardwick, Lucy Tilsley, Robert Clayton, Kathryn Mackinnon and Rachel Vezza), who are working on projects ranging from hydrodynamic modelling and analysis to environmental impacts of tidal lagoons and solutions to bio-fouling for tidal energy developments.

Helen completed her PhD at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, entitled 'Modelling for resource and environmental impact assessments of wave farms'. She also holds an MSc in Hydrography from Plymouth University and a BA in Physics from the University of Oxford.


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