A project by the Energy Technologies Institute to identify ways of providing a cost effective deployment of tidal stream technologies at commercial scale in UK waters, has been announced at All-Energy by Charles Hendry, the Minister of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The Tidal Energy Converter (TEC) System Demonstrator project will adopt a system and through-life approach to identify, develop and prove the best routes and supply-chain options to commercially viable tidal stream technologies when deployed at array scale.
The project, awarded to a team led by Atlantis Resources Corporation, will run over two phases, with funding released in stages according to the progress achieved.
Speaking in Aberdeen, the Minister said: “Reducing costs to levels comparable to other low carbon systems is critical in accelerating the development and commercialization of Tidal Energy Converter device arrays. This is part of a co-ordinated programme of public sector support to innovation in marine energy which is expected to exceed £80m over the next few years.”
Dr David Clarke, ETI Chief Executive said: “Extracting energy from the very significant tidal stream resources around the UK coast using Tidal Energy Convertors (TECs) could play an important part in delivering sustainable, low-cost electricity to UK consumers in the future.”
“However, the cost and performance of today’s systems needs to improve significantly in order to attract large scale project investment and to deliver meaningful UK deployment levels.
“For tidal technologies to be deployed at a commercially viable scale, array level system design needs to be addressed and supported with improvements in a wide range of supply-chain and infrastructure issues, including technology selection, subsea systems, on-shore electrical grid connection and device installation and operation.
“This project aims to identify routes to cost effective installation and operation of tidal stream technologies in UK waters. Reducing costs to levels comparable to other low carbon systems is critical in accelerating the development and commercialisation of TEC device arrays.”
Tim Cornelius, Atlantis CEO, said: “The Tidal Energy Converter System Demonstrator project will play an important part in helping the UK tidal energy industry fulfil its role in the UK’s future energy mix. It will focus the efforts of the sector’s leading technology providers, developers and researchers on the core task of rapid and meaningful cost of energy reduction.”
“We have assembled a world class team with expertise spanning design and consultancy through to cutting edge technology developers, experienced offshore practitioners and world leading systems integrators. Together with our lead project partners, Lockheed Martin and Black & Veatch, the project will seek to deliver cost reduction solutions that the industry can learn from and that will help make tidal power cost competitive on a large commercial scale.”
The first phase of the project, which will run over 16 months, will see the ETI invest up to £3.2 million. It will be project managed by Black & Veatch and will draw extensively on the systems integration and technology skills of Lockheed Martin, as well as several leading technology providers across the marine industry including Atlantis. The total budget for Phase 1 is £3.2 million.
The initial part of phase one will see the ETI invest £1.75 million and will assess a variety of system configurations and potential technology choices to identify the best options for meeting the cost of energy targets defined in the ETI / UKERC Marine Energy Technology Roadmap published in 2010. If a clear path can be seen to achieving these cost of energy targets, then phase one will continue to develop the most promising innovations and architecture in readiness for demonstration.
If successful, the project will progress to a second phase, at an estimated cost of £10 million, during which the system and sub-system solutions will be developed towards commercial readiness and the system demonstrated in a realistic offshore environment. Phase Two will take approximately three years.
The ETI has now invested £138 million in projects across nine programme areas, including £24 million in marine energy projects, since it was formed in 2008 to accelerate the technologies needed to help the UK meet its legally binding carbon reduction targets. Other ongoing ETI projects include the £12.4 million ReDAPT project which is developing a 1MW tidal generator, the £8 million PerAWAT project which is producing tools capable of accurately estimating the energy yield of major wave and tidal stream energy converters, the £1.1 million Wet-mate connector which produced a high voltage connector to link offshore energy sources to cables more efficiently and the £450,000 Tidal Resource Modelling project which is mapping the UK’s tidal energy resources.
Subsea World News Staff, May 23, 2012; Image: ETI