European Commission backs floating tidal innovation project

Image credit: Orbital Marine Power

The FORWARD-2030 project consortium, led by Orbital Marine Power, will receive €20.5 million ($28.4 million) from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and aims to accelerate the commercial deployment of floating tidal energy.

The project aims to develop a multi-vector energy system that will combine predictable floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid export, battery storage and green hydrogen production.

Furthermore, the project will see the installation of the next iteration of the Orbital turbine, integrated with a hydrogen production facility and battery storage at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

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Commenting on the award, Oliver Wragg, Orbital’s Commercial Director said: “We now have a focused and highly experienced consortium dedicated to the delivery of tidal energy and committed to accelerating its future uptake. This alignment of interest sets FORWARD-2030 on course to have a meaningful impact as we build towards large scale commercially viable tidal energy projects.”

Project partners will design options for integrating large scale tidal power into future net-zero energy systems, whilst developing environmental monitoring and marine spatial planning tools for large floating tidal arrays.

During the project, Orbital will advance the company’s floating tidal turbine design, with support from technical partner SKF, who will design and build an optimised fully integrated power train solution, designed for volume manufacture.

The partners will deliver several technical innovations targeting increased rated power, enhanced turbine performance and array integration solutions, ultimately reducing the cost of Orbital’s technology.

The next generation turbine will be deployed at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday in Orkney, where the company has already installed the O2. EMEC will host the demonstration, facilitate hydrogen production, provide an environmental monitoring programme, and develop a live environmental monitoring system and test programme.

As part of the project, LABORELEC will assess the large scale integration of tidal energy to the European energy system, develop a smart energy management system and an operational forecasting tool.

The University of Edinburgh will deliver a techno-economic analysis of tidal energy, and the MaREI Centre at University College Cork will be responsible for addressing marine spatial planning issues for wide-scale uptake of tidal energy.

Michaël Marique, CEO of ENGIE Laborelec: “The integration within a single system of tidal and wind energies, as well as storage by batteries and hydrogen makes FORWARD 2030 a world first. ENGIE Laborelec is proud to participate in this large-scale project, which should make it possible to take a decisive step towards integration of multi-renewable technologies projects with large mixed storage.”

The Fast-tracking Offshore Renewable energy With Advanced Research to Deploy 2030MW of tidal energy before 2030 (FORWARD-2030) project will run from 2021 to 2025.

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