Black & Veatch Helping Orbital Reduce Floating Tidal Turbine Costs

July 7, 2020

Image Credit: Orbital Marine Power
Image Credit: Orbital Marine Power

Floating tidal stream turbine developer Orbital Marine Power has appointed Black & Veatch as Lead Engineering Partner to support technology optimization and cost reduction engineering under the company’s €5m R&D program.

Supported by the INTERREG France (Channel) England TIGER project, the four-year program will build on Orbital’s floating tidal turbine technology, the O2, in an effort to identify and de-risk innovations capable of accelerating cost reductions for tidal stream energy.  

Andrew Scott, CEO, Orbital Marine Power said: “A central strand to the development of our O2 technology was a vision for the future and to ensure we created a product which is well futureproofed for ongoing innovation. So it is great to have started this work in more detail and  that the initial assessments from Black and Veatch back up our own projections that the correct configuration of technology can make tidal stream energy competitive with established sectors.”

Black & Veatch has created a digital twin of Orbital’s current turbine design that allows the teams to model turbine improvements and identify which advances deliver the lowest levelized cost of energy across the entire turbine lifecycle.

Robbie Gibson, Black & Veatch Renewable Energy Services Director for Europe said; “We’re delighted that Orbital has selected us to support their development program as we see the technology as having huge potential to deliver cost-competitive low carbon energy and our team has a huge amount of experience it can bring to assist this journey.”

Beyond Black & Veatch, the R&D program will engage with TIGER project partners and wider industry experts to advance leading optimizations for the O2 platform.

Orbital is targeting "dramatic cost reductions" through incorporating learning from similar applications across mature energy sectors including wind, where increases in blade lengths and component reliability have delivered plummeting generating costs.

"The innovations will be rolled out on a continuous basis on future O2 units as Orbital transitions to becoming a global supplier of low-cost tidal energy systems," Orbital said.

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