This image shows the 2 megawatt Orbital Marine Power turbine, the Orbital O2.
The Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power will lead a consortium focused on the commercial deployment of floating tidal energy.
In a statement on Monday, the company, which has already described its 2-megawatt O2 tidal turbine as “the most powerful in the world,” said the Forward-2030 project of 26.7 million euros ( $ 31.5 million) will receive a € 20.5 million grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.
Although the UK will officially leave the European Union on 31 January 2020, its companies and researchers are still able to access funding from Horizon 2020.
In a statement, Orbital said the project will work on the development of a system combining “floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid exports, battery storage and green hydrogen production.” The company will assume the role of both project coordinator and lead technology developer.
Breaking things down, the next iteration of Orbital’s floating tidal turbine will be installed at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, an archipelago located in the north of the Scottish mainland.
Here, the turbine will be integrated with battery storage and a hydrogen production plant. The new turbine will sit next to the already installed O2, which began generating grid-connected power earlier this year.
Other participants in the project include the University of Edinburgh, which will undertake what Orbital has described as “techno-economic analysis of tidal energy”.
Elsewhere, Engie Laborelec – part of Tractebel, a subsidiary of the large French utility Engie – will “evaluate the large-scale integration of tidal energy into the European energy system, develop an intelligent energy management system and an operational forecasting tool. ”
Matthijs Soede, who is a senior political official at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, said the Forward-2030 project has “the potential to accelerate the commercial deployment of tidal energy, too. confirming Europe’s position as a leader in tidal energy. “
Monday’s news represents the latest blow to the UK’s marine energy sector. Last week saw another Scottish company, Nova Innovation, announce that it would receive £ 6.4 million ($ 8.89 million) from the Scottish National Investment Bank.
The investment, Nova said, will be used to fund the manufacture and distribution of its submarine tidal turbines. The money would also be used to fund ongoing R&D in marine energy, he said.
While interest in marine-based energy systems appears to be growing, the current footprint of the industry and its technologies remains small.
Ocean Energy Europe figures show that only 260 kilowatts of tidal flow capacity were added in Europe last year, while only 200 kW of wave energy were installed.
In contrast, 2020 will see 14.7 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed in Europe, according to industry organization WindEurope.