Skip to main content

Tidal Turbine Power Take-Off Accelerator

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TIPA (Tidal Turbine Power Take-Off Accelerator)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

Tidal energy is abundant, predictable and clean, with a potential global market of 150 to 800 TWh per year, worth up to €40 billion per year. Europe accounts for 75 to 105 TWh of this total, where 105 TWh amounts to 8% of EU electricity generation in 2013 (1,300 TWh/yr).

Low-carbon tidal electricity is currently expensive due to the emerging nature of the sector. The TiPA project demonstrated an innovative Direct Drive Power Take-Off (PTO) solution for tidal energy turbines, with the aim of reducing the lifetime cost of tidal energy by 20% over a conventional PTO. In reality, the project smashed this target, delivering a 29% reduction in lifetime cost of energy. This goal was achieved by increasing the efficiency, reliability and service interval of the turbine - reducing operating cost and downtime and boosting device yield.

The project consortium was led by Nova Innovation, a world-leading tidal energy technology and project developer. Project partners were SKF, Siemens, The University of Edinburgh, Technical University of Delft, Wood Group and the Center for Wind Power Drives RWTH Aachen University.

The overall objectives of the project were all delivered:
• Design and build a high performance, direct drive PTO for a tidal energy turbine - a world-leading PTO solution was delivered by the project team;
• Conduct tests to verify that the PTO works as designed - the PTO successfully passed onshore testing at Aachen University and offshore testing in Scotland;
• Achieve independent verification of the technology - project partner and global engineering leader Wood verified the PTO design and all test results;
• Optimise the PTO design for performance, reliability and survivability - the PTO design was optimised to reflect project findings;
• Exploit, disseminate and communicate the results - results were actively disseminated at conferences, industry events and online to increase awareness and raise investor and market confidence in the emerging tidal energy sector.

The University of Edinburgh led on delivery of a Commercialisation Strategy for exploiting the TiPA PTO in the tidal energy sector and in analogous sectors including wave power and marine propulsion. The project has delivered a step-change in tidal energy technology, which is already being exploited by coordinator Nova Innovation in their next generation tidal turbine.

Successful delivery of the TiPA project brings the tidal energy industry a huge step closer to commercial reality, and contributing to solving Europe's climate and energy challenges.
The TiPA project successfully delivered a step-change in the lifetime cost of tidal energy, and was completed on-time and on-budget. The project successfully achieved the goal of delivering an innovative PTO solution that improves the performance, reliability and survivability of tidal turbines.

Key project tasks and objectives completed include:
• PTO design, build and commissioning
• PTO onshore and offshore testing
• Independent verification of the PTO design, and onshore and offshore test results
• Optimisation of PTO design to incorporate research findings
• Delivery of public reports for use by the wider industry covering: reliability, verification, certification and techno-economic modelling.
• Delivery of a Commercialisation Strategy to exploit the results

The project consortium worked very well as a team, with good interactions taking place between all partners across all work packages. Task delivery, budget and outputs were managed throughout the project to ensure high quality results were delivered on-time and on-budget.

The Communication Strategy drove the dissemination of project outputs to target stakeholders. Communication channels included the project website and social media, which were used to raise awareness of the project and to share results. A number of industry events were attended where the potential benefits of the novel PTO system or initial findings have been shared.

In total, 44 project deliverables were submitted, resulting in the achievement of all 9 project milestones:
• M1 - Test plan & specification complete
• M2 - Test system design complete
• M3 - Market Analysis Complete
• M4 - PTO components delivered
• M5 - PTO commissioned
• M6 - Lab testing complete
• M7 - Round 1 in-sea testing complete
• M8 - Round 2 in-sea testing complete
• M9 - Final reporting
The impacts of the TIPA project include:
• Step-change reduction in the cost of tidal energy;
• Significantly increasing technology performance;
• Reducing the technological risks for the next development stages (incorporating the PTO in an in-sea tidal turbine);
• Reducing the life-cycle environmental impact of energy generation;
• Nurturing the development of the industrial capacity to produce components and systems and opening of new opportunities for European industry;
• Contributing to the strengthening of the European industrial technology base, thereby creating growth and jobs in Europe;
• Increasing the reliability and lifetime of tidal energy while decreasing operation and maintenance costs, hence creating new business opportunities; and
• Contributing to solving the global climate and energy challenges.
TiPA tidal turbine
TiPA PTO test set up for laboratory testing
TiPA PTO test set up for in-sea testing