Project background

TIDAL-EC is a 30-month EU funded FP7 project with 7 partners participating from 5 European and associated countries.

Research within the renewable energy sector is fast-moving and is of global interest.  The EU and USA are world leaders in the development of renewable energy; and all indicators suggest continued and sustained growth in this sector.  However, there are a number of key barriers to wider uptake of renewable energy generation:

  • Electricity generation costs from renewables are currently high and need reducing
  • High installation costs
  • Concern over supply security

The TIDAL-EC project will be based on designs and testing work previously undertaken by the SME partners.  The SME partners will, in turn, subcontract the research work to the project’s research partners, who will provide access to the facilities and knowledge required to optimise the tidal energy converter (TEC) power take off (PTO) and permanent magnet generator (PMG) technology for improved reliability, increased efficiency and reduced levelised cost of energy (LCOE).  TIDAL-EC will balance cost efficiency and reliability to determine the best option for increasing the economic viability of the entire system.

Two of the largest and most critical components of any mainstream TEC are the PTO system (the shaft, bearings and other equipment which connects the turbine blades with the generator) and the electrical generator itself.  Experts in the field of turbine and generator testing, the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult together with SME partners Tocardo International, Ocean Flow Energy, Minesto and FiberSensing and research (RTD) performing partners the University of Edinburgh and SINTEF Energi, plan to conduct vital research and concept design activities to determine the optimim design of a TEC PTO system and PMG.  These radically optimised systems will improve reliability, increase power conversion efficiency and facilitate reduction in the cost of tidal power.  In turn, the results of this project will also help SME tidal developers (and their SME suppliers) to be able to offer warranties and guarantees to end customers (European Energy Utilities) and enable large scale roll out of tidal energy in the EU; support diversification of the European energy mix and helping to achieve European 2020 renewable energy and carbon emission reduction targets.