Thermal Plume Mapping by Infrared Remote Sensing (to be based at Reading University) (Ref 16/03)

Company Name: EDF Energy

Location: R&D UK Centre, Cardinal Place, 80 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JL.

Supervisor: Angus Bloomfield

Company description

EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies and its largest producer of low-carbon electricity. EDF Energy is part of the EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies, which operates in 23 countries, employing over 157,000 staff. Research and Development is a key part of EDF Group and EDF Energy activities. EDF Energy R&D UK Centre Ltd. (RD) is a fully owned subsidiary of EDF Energy and part of Group’s international R&D network. It was established in March 2012 in order to strengthen Group ability to deliver R&D activity in the UK.

University of Reading, Department of Meteorology, Reading, RG6 6AL

Supervised by Chris Merchant (

The Department of Meteorology is a large, world-leading research department in weather, climate and environment ( One of its three research divisions is “Earth Observation and Space”, which exploits remote sensing for weather, climate and environmental applications. As well as Prof Merchant, there will be help available from researchers in his research group to ensure good progress.

Project Description

EDF Energy Nuclear Generation (NG) operates 8 nuclear power stations in the UK. All stations have coastal locations because they abstract large volumes of cooling water, required for the process of generating electricity from steam, and this water is returned to the marine environment with an elevated temperature. This project sets out to understand whether infrared remote sensing from space can provide a useful tool for monitoring the thermal plumes across the NG fleet of power stations. Measuring sea surface temperature across the global oceans from space is well-established for weather forecasting purposes. The challenge of this project is to make progress with high spatial resolution images right up to the coastline.

Student Specification:

  • Suggested degree programmes

Physics, Engineering, Computing/Data Science

  • Key skills

Computing, visualisation and data wrangling (e.g., Python).

Written and verbal communication.

Some understanding of relevant physics (heat, EM radiation, spectroscopy).

The Nitty Gritty:

Start: 27 June 2016(with Induction Day at Satellite Applications Catapult at Harwell, Oxon)

Principal location of work: University of Reading (visits to EDF at beginning and during project)

Remuneration £1,500 pcm

Closing Date for Applications: 8 February 2016

Cookies on Catapult explained

To comply with EU directives we now provide detailed information about the cookies we use. To find out more about cookies on this site, what they do and how to remove them, see our information about cookies. Click OK to continue using this site.