Pan-European Consortium Secures Funding for Tidal Turbine Subsystem Development

A European tidal energy consortium, led by Nova Innovation in Scotland, has secured funding from the European Commission to demonstrate and validate an innovative subsystem (direct drive power take-off (PTO) solution) for tidal turbines. The technology, when commercialised, will reduce the lifetime cost of tidal power by 20% and provide long term system reliability. The consortium is to receive grant funding of €4.4M under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for research and innovation.

The project titled TiPA (Tidal turbine Power take-off Accelerator) will run for 36 months. It will build the PTO subsystem and conduct accelerated onshore testing in Germany followed by in-sea testing in Scotland with third party validation of the design and the test results. The PTO subsystem is the component that transforms the mechanical power in the tidal turbine rotor into electricity that is exported into the grid.

The project consortium brings together complementary world leading expertise: Nova Innovation Ltd (tidal turbine direct drive generator); Siemens plc (power electronics); SKF (bearing and seals); the University of Edinburgh (knowledge and modelling); Chair for Wind Power Drives – RWTH Aachen University (facility for drive train testing); Delft Technical University (knowledge and modelling); and Wood Group Kenny SAS │ SgurrEnergy (assessing and verifying the technology).

Once complete the project deliverables will be used to raise market confidence in the maturing tidal energy industry and to maximise the benefit of the project to the ocean energy sector as a whole. A commercialisation strategy will be developed, for selling and licensing the PTO to tidal energy technology developers and to explore potential uses outside the tidal sector. This funded project gives Europe a leader-in-the-field advantage and will enable it to export technology to international markets as the industry grows.

Simon Forrest, Managing Director of Nova Innovation, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with our European partner organisations to deliver TiPA to develop and demonstrate our innovative direct drive PTO for tidal turbines. This will be a major step forwards for the global sector and significantly drive down the lifetime cost of tidal energy. We are extremely appreciative to the European Commission for their belief in our technology and sector, and are really looking forward to taking the PTO onwards to a commercial reality for the industry.”

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