Sustainable Marine Energy (SME) announced this week that it is to build and test a new generation systems integration platform aimed at enabling tidal energy to become a cost effective green source of energy.
The technology development company will be using its PLAT-O platform, together with STG 50 tidal turbines it is purchasing from propulsion experts SCHOTTEL GmbH, for trials off the Isle of Wight.
The trials will be used to develop and prove the ways SME’s new platform can drive down the costs and risks of device installation and maintenance, and help enable tidal energy to become genuinely viable.
At the same time the Isle of Wight based company will be developing its system to be easily scalable – from a small unit supplying power to an individual community up to utility scale deployments providing Megawatt (MW) capability.
Jason Hayman, Managing Director of SME, said: “This marks an important and exciting step forward for tidal energy, which we are totally committed to making work.
“At the moment the key barriers for tidal are the relatively high costs and risks of installing and maintaining devices, and the difficulties of placing them in the optimum position for maximum power extraction in deep water.
“The PLAT-O platform overcomes these barriers and our purchase of the STG 50 tidal turbines now enables us to get in the water with a 100kW community scale demonstrator to prove the benefits that can be delivered.
“We are delighted that the development of our community scale system is able to benefit from the expertise that SCHOTTEL has in producing reliable machinery for the challenging offshore environment.”
Gerhard Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of SCHOTTEL, added: “With more than 60 years of precision engineering experience in marine propulsion it is a natural and logical move for us to apply our knowledge to create a robust solution for the tidal energy sector.
“We share SME’s vision of an innovative, scalable and modular approach to tidal energy and we are delighted that SME has chosen our STG 50 intelligent power generation solution for its PLAT-O demonstrator.
THE PLAT-O PLATFORM
PLAT-O is a flexible and turbine agnostic systems integration platform.
Its innovative design uses a taut mooring system to position the device subsea to ensure it can be deployed in a wide range of water depths and seabed types without the need for heavy lift vessels for installation or maintenance.
PLAT-O has undergone successful tank testing at both the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and L’Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER)’s flume tank in Boulogne sur Mer.
The development of the 100kW demonstrator is being supported by the Department of Energy & Climate Change under its Energy Entrepreneurs scheme.
Yarmouth Harbour, which shares SME’s conviction that tidal energy provides a highly attractive renewable energy solution for the Isle of Wight, is providing the test site for SME to conduct its initial trials.
THE STG 50 TIDAL GENERATOR
The STG 50 from SCHOTTEL GmbH is equally innovative combining a highly efficient design with lightweight yet robust components with low acquisition and maintenance costs.
The STG 50 turbine produces 50 Kilowatts of electricity in environments from rivers to offshore, and its modular format means powerful arrays can be deployed quickly, easily and inexpensively on a variety of platforms.
The unit is the result of SCHOTTEL’s in depth expertise in marine propulsion, hydrodynamics and electronics and represents the cutting edge in tidal energy generation.