Scottish tidal energy technology developer, Orbital Marine Power (Orbital) will lead a pan-European consortium to deliver the €26.7m FORWARD-2030 project, set up to accelerate the commercial deployment of floating tidal energy.
The FORWARD-2030 project consortium will receive €20.5m of grant support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program to develop a multi-vector energy system for the future. This system will combine predictable floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid export, battery storage, and green hydrogen production.
The project will see the installation of the next iteration of the Orbital turbine, integrated with a hydrogen production facility and battery storage at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. Project partners will design options for integrating large-scale tidal power into future net zero energy systems, whilst developing environmental monitoring and marine spatial planning tools for large floating tidal arrays.
Orbital will act as project coordinator as well as lead technology developer for the FORWARD-2030 project.
During the project, Orbital plans to advance its pioneering floating tidal turbine design, with support from technical partner SKF, which will design and build an optimized fully integrated power train solution, designed for volume manufacture.
The partners plan to deliver several technical innovations targeting increased rated power, enhanced turbine performance, and array integration solutions, which should reduce the cost of Orbital’s technology.
The "next-generation" turbine will be deployed at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday in Orkney, where the company has already installed the O2, the world’s most powerful floating turbine, this summer. Once installed next to the O2, the new turbine will be part of the world’s most powerful floating tidal array.
EMEC will host the demonstration, facilitate hydrogen production, deliver an environmental monitoring program, and develop a live environmental monitoring system and test program.
LABORELEC will assess large-scale integration of tidal energy to the European energy system, develop a smart energy management system and an operational forecasting tool. The University of Edinburgh will deliver techno-economic analysis of tidal energy, and the MaREI Centre at University College Cork will be responsible for addressing marine spatial planning issues for wide-scale uptake of tidal energy.
Oliver Wragg, Orbital’s Commercial Director said: "This endorsement of the Orbital technology by the European Commission is a huge vote of confidence in our capability to deliver commercially viable tidal energy. We now have a focused and highly experienced consortium dedicated to the delivery of tidal energy and committed to accelerating its future uptake. This alignment of interest sets FORWARD-2030 on course to have a meaningful impact as we build towards large scale commercially viable tidal energy projects.