CORDIS - EU research results

Second Generation technologies in ocean Energy

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - OCEAN_2G (Second Generation technologies in ocean Energy)

Reporting period: 2019-02-01 to 2019-11-30

The interest for renewable energies has exponentially risen in the last few years. Several factors have contributed to this growth: the increase on energy demand, the political instability of many countries that produce fossil fuels, the high fluctuation of oil prices, the countries’ energy dependence and the concern generated by the environmental impact produced by the traditional sources of energy. This fact has boosted the development of numerous renewable energies and has promoted the establishment of ambitious objectives by the main world organisations, like the one set by the European Commission of covering 20% of the energy demand with renewable energies by 2020. By using current marine energy harnessing technology, it would be possible to provide up to 13% of the global energy, by extracting 2.200 TWh/year.

OCEAN_2G (validation and pre-certification of a new 2MW marine current generator) is an innovation project that aims to develop the Product Categories Rules for pre-certification and industrialization stages for an innovative tidal energy harnessing system solution ready to enter into the markets, generating specialized jobs, promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth in European and global markets. At the same time, boosting the performance of the industrial partners in the Consortium and placing Magallanes Renovables’ technology as a worldwide referent in the production of tidal energy generation floating platforms.

The outcome of this Fast track to Innovation project is to provide a 2MW pre-marketable floating platform technically validated towards commercialization stages.

The strengths to be verified are the low cost of installation and decommissioning, the low cost of maintenance, high yield and the survivability of the system. On the other hand, there are several technical innovations to be tested, such as an accessible machine room for maintenance in dry conditions, the validation of the energy production systems (pitch, ballast, power train), and the control system of the platform.

Ocean_2G’s main objectives are as follows:
•Validate the full-scale (1:1 size) prototype in a controlled marine environment through a structured test programme;
•Demonstrate the operational performance of a grid connected full-scale prototype in a real open sea environment;
•Improve the prototype for cost competitive energy generation with a target of 2MW;
•Pre-certification of the full-scale prototype with an independent electrical power performance assessment;
•Develop a business strategy and marketing approach according to the projects outputs and identify potential customers.

The ATIR platform started the electrical generation on August 2019, using two control centres in, Redondela (Spain) and Kirkwall (Scotland) to monitor the production of electricity. The project has performed several successful tests, demonstrating the automatic and remote power generation from tidal currents, validating the technology developed by MAGALLANES.

It has also been implemented a control system with predictive maintenance and it was also performed a blade cleaning operation, without any breakdowns in the whole project. Besides, as for the environmental impact, we have experienced zero impact on the wildlife (mammals, poultry, marine species).
The OCEAN_2G project has significantly moved forward over the last 34 months. This has been possible with the support of all partners involved in the project. The OCEAN_2G full-scale prototype concluded its first testing campaign in a controlled environment in Vigo estuary (Spain). This campaign has included tests at the pier and anchoring tests, where it was performed a check of all sensors, valves and engines in the systems, establishing control and alarm levels for all the variables and validating the robustness and reliability of the control system and HMI. There were also performed towing tests, with the objective of learning how to control the platform remotely and automatically. Those tests have demonstrated the good behaviour of the full-scale prototype.

In summer 2018, the prototype has been towed from Vigo to Orkney (Scotland), a distance over 2,000 miless, where the testing campaign in a real environment was conducted. Those tests validated the performance of the OCEAN_2G full-scale prototype in a grid connected tidal test site. The results obtained in both controlled (Vigo) and real (Orkney) environments contributed to the cost characterisation and cost reduction in order to be more competitive.

The main marine operations regarding testing and validation in real environment were the following ones:
• Temporary deployment of the ATIR at Deerness site
• Towage of ATIR from Deerness site to EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site
• Installation of ATIR at the Fall of Warness in February 2019
• O&M work for the ATIR performed by LEASK
• Dry-spliced cable connection and attached main distribution cable to shore station
• Mooring of the ATIR in Orkney for over 12 months and through a rough winter

On the other hand, MAGALLANES has collected data about electricity production since the ATIR was connected to the electric grid, and the main results are the following ones:
• Maximum power obtained: 1.5MW
• Average power: 1MW
• Energy obtained per tide: 2.5-3MWh/tide
• Energy generated: over 100MWh
• Hours of operation per day: 16-18 h/day
• Current power coefficient >40%
• 100% Availability
The EC has taken a leading position worldwide in promoting a transition towards a low carbon energy source economy by 2050, including the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in comparison with 1990 levels. In addition, the G7 has announced an even more ambitious goal: to completely eliminate fossil fuel generation by the year 2100. An accelerated adoption of technologies for renewable energy generation is critical to achieving these goals.

MAGALLANES’ technology biggest strengths are related to its lower operational and maintenance costs when compared to solutions offered currently in the market. This is due to one of its unique features: an accessible machine room. This means that repairs can be done offshore with no need to take the platform to a shipyard for maintenance. Another advantage of this floating technology is that there is no need to install fixed structures on the seabed, meaning lower environmental impact. Therefore, this is one of the most cost-efficient and sustainable projects nowadays in the ocean energy industry.

The size of the potential market available for the tidal industry is very large and is expected to take decades to meet the growing demand for renewable energy of this type. In terms of competition within the tidal industry, there are over 80 active tidal developers known to EMEC around the globe. Developers vary from small and medium-sized enterprises to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), utilities and industrial engineering firms with a range of investors involved in this field of operation. However, no device has reached the stage of selling a final product to the market.

The number of projects under development proves that this technology is viable and competitive and therefore, it is a very attractive sector. Growth expectations are high for this sector for the coming years, especially from 2019 on; this is why the next few years are so important and key to the development of an efficient and reliable technology for the exploitation of the tides.
OCEAN_2G prototype
Full-scale prototype towing tests