Cranfield Works to Cut Tidal Energy Costs (UK)

A project between Cranfield University and Sustainable Marine Energy, funded by the Low Carbon KEEP programme, has developed an innovative ‘platform’ designed to dramatically cut the cost and risks of tidal energy projects.

The UK’s aging electricity generation infrastructure and reliance on imported fossil fuels and nuclear power is becoming a key concern to the security of UK’s energy supply. Exploiting the energy of the seas’ tidal flows, where estimates suggest two-thirds of the country’s tidal energy resource is located, could generate up to 8% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Sustainable Marine Energy and a team of academics headed by Dr Florent Trarieux, Lecturer in Offshore Engineering at Cranfield University have recently completed a 12 month project developing an innovative deployment platform, PLAT-O, that substantially reduces the cost and risks associated with deploying tidal energy devices.

Dr Trarieux said: “The Low Carbon KEEP gave us the means to progress a great idea to commercial stage for the benefit of Sustainable Marine Energy and the industry in a very short period of time. Having a prototype deployed at sea in 18 months of development is mind-blowing! This is an excellent framework creating positive incentives for all the stakeholders to deliver the work quickly and efficiently. In a new industry such as tidal energy, this could well have a definite impact on who will be the game changers.”

Fabrizio Fiore, was employed as the graduate managing the project and was tasked with transferring and applying the knowledge and expertise of Dr Trarieux’s team to the challenges that Sustainable Marine Energy was facing.

Jason Hayman, Managing Director of Sustainable Marine Energy said: “This programme has helped our organisation reach out across Cranfield University and tap into a wide range of expertise. The success of the PLAT-O project has enabled the company to secure additional funding to design, build and test an at-sea demonstrator.”

The Low Carbon KEEP programme provides 40% revenue and capital funding to support collaborative partnerships between small to medium businesses (SMEs) in the East of England and Universities in the UK.

Press Release, February 07, 2014

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