Marine Hydrokinetics

Two companies win EU award for joint tidal energy research
Minesto and Atlantis Resources Ltd. have been awarded close to US$960,000 from the Eurostars Programme to help advance tidal energy technology. The funds “will be used to reduce the cost of tidal power plants by creating cost-effective high-reliability tidal turbine blades and wings of composite materials,” the companies said in a joint release.

Minesto and Atlantis said each company has “advanced marine energy technologies” that “complement each other rather than compete,” making the partnership “essential to speed up time-to-market for power plants that could make an impact on the global renewable energy arena.”

Eurostars supports research-based small and medium enterprises by funding innovative products that can be rapidly commercialized. The program is publicly financed by the EU.

Funding will be used to research key components shared by each company’s tidal energy system. The project will allow Minesto to further develop the wing for its Deep Green units, which rely on the wing to move in an 8-shaped path in tidal and ocean currents. The same research will be used by Atlantis to improve its AR1500 tidal turbine. Atlantis said material testing will help it understand “the nature of the complex composite materials used in blade manufacture.”

Alstom unveils updated Oceade tidal turbine
Improvements make Alstom’s new Oceade tidal stream turbine more efficient, cost-effective and easier to maintain that its previous models, the French manufacturer said.

The units, called the “Oceade 18 – 1.4 MW,” have a rotor diameter of 18 m and three variable pitch blades. Alstom said the internal components are easily accessible through a rear inspection hatch, making assembly and maintenance faster than before. The turbines are also buoyant, making them easy to tow to and from operating sites without specialized vessels. “With this new tidal energy production solution, Alstom has made definite headway,” Alstom New Energies Senior Vice President Jacques Jamart said. “The project is seeking to demonstrate a new design for an efficient, reliable turbine to reduce installation and maintenance costs with a view to commercial production.”

The Oceade units build on research conducted with a 1 MW tidal stream turbine that was deployed at Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre last year.

Atkins named client’s engineer for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project
Design, engineering and project management consultancy group Atkins Global has been selected by Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay PLC (TLSB) to serve as client’s engineer for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project in Wales, UK. The 320 MW project includes a 9.5 km-long sea wall that would feature hydro turbines along its length. Rising and falling tides would provide the head needed for energy production.

Per the contract, Atkins will provide design and engineering support — including the production of outline designs for the breakwater, turbine house and ancillary works — and support the tender process by developing documents and reviewing responses.

“This is a major civil engineering project which combines a wide range of disciplines from building services, power and architecture to structural and marine engineering,” said Mike McNicholas, managing director of the company’s UK design and engineering business. “As designers and engineers, these are the things that make us get out of bed in the morning and it’s great to be part of the team.”

Atkins will also provide a range of site supervision, auditing and technical checking services after a design and build contractor is appointed in spring 2015.

Swansea Bay would qualify as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the UK’s Planning Act of 2008.

Minesto honored with WWL Orcelle Award
Minesto AB was honored as the 2014 recipient of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) Orcelle Award at the Ocean Exchange’s conference in Savannah, Ga, USA.

The award and an accompanying US$100,000 prize recognize the Swedish company for demonstrating the greatest potential to “accelerate sustainability with applicability across multiple industries,” particularly with regard to its “Deep Green” generating units. Minesto was selected from 145 entries by a panel of 250 delegates in a variety of industries.

“We are proud to receive this very prestigious international award,” Minesto Chief Executive Officer Anders Jansson said. “It is rewarding to know that industry experts think that a marine energy company like Minesto deserves to win this. It also shows that industry experts are curious about, and impressed by, the success we have had with Deep Green.”

A quarter-scale prototype of a Deep Green unit is producing power in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough.

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