• Alexander Clifford

Nova leads bionic tidal team - Consortium wins EU funding to advance use of AI in improving turbine

Scottish tidal energy developer Nova Innovation is leading a consortium that has won a major new European project that will use artificial intelligence to improve turbine performance and accelerate commercialisation. The €5m project, called Element, will incorporate AI technology from wind energy into tidal turbines delivering an adaptive control system that improves turbine performance. Nova said this will slash the lifetime cost of energy by 17% and drive the tidal energy sector to commercial reality. The project starts in June 2019 and runs until May 2022 and was won as a competitive contract awarded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The control technology will be demonstrated on a floating tidal device in the Etel estuary in Brittany and on a seabed-mounted Nova M100 turbine in the Shetland Tidal Array. The consortium also includes IDETA, Chantier Bretagne Sud, Innosea, Wood, Nortek AS, The University of Strathclyde, DNV GL UK, France Energies Marines, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and ABB UK. Nova Innovation chief executive Simon Forrest said: “Reliable tidal energy generation is now a reality. It is no longer a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ the technology becomes mainstream. “The sector has taken great strides forward in recent years and our drive is now to reduce cost to compete with conventional generation. “Fortunately for our industry, many cost reduction techniques have already been demonstrated in established renewable technologies, such as offshore wind. “By capturing this knowledge, we can reduce the costs of tidal energy more quickly by piggybacking on their technological advances. “The EU has a clear global lead in tidal energy. Nova Innovation is playing a leading role in making tidal energy part of the global energy transition.” IDETA director Olivier Bontems said: “Within this project, IDETA will conduct a socioeconomic assessment of the potential impact of estuary, river and tidal energy at the regional, national and EU level. “As a regional development agency for Picardy Wallonia’s, IDETA has prioritised increasing renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency. “IDETA has extensive project development experience with a focus on community involvement to maximize local use of green energy. “The empowering of citizens is a regulatory principle which presents a lot of advantages such as improving public acceptance, promoting local and collective self-consumption and increasing flexibility of the energy market. “It is also a way to improve the integration of intermittent energy on the public grid.” France Energies Marines chief executive Officer Yann-Herve De Roeck said: “France Energies Marines is very proud of supporting tidal energy development since 2012, with more than 20 R&D collaborative projects related to this promising technology, including the current Element project. “Testing of the Nova turbine in the Etel river in order to develop an innovative control technology is of major importance for French tidal energy deployments. “Our institute will contribute to assess the environmental integration of tidal energy devices by measuring physical as well as biological characteristics at the Etel test site. “This will be followed by developing indicators that will be used in continuous monitoring in order to reduce the potential environmental impacts of offshore renewable energy.”

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