CORDIS - EU research results

Effective Lifetime Extension in the Marine Environment for Tidal Energy

Project description

New turbine control system to harness the power of tides

Tidal power – produced by the surge of ocean waters during the rise and fall of tides – is a major renewable energy source, but the technology is still in its infancy. The EU-funded ELEMENT project will develop a new tidal turbine control system (based on wind turbine technology) to optimise performance and cut the lifetime cost of energy by 17 %. This will make the EU tidal energy sector commercially viable. It will demonstrate a prototype system using onshore bench-testing, tow testing and in-sea deployment at two real tidal sites. A demonstration of subsea and floating devices will also be undertaken. The project will also seek to increase public awareness and support for tidal energy projects.


In the ELEMENT project, a partnership of world-leading academic, industrial and research organisations will develop and validate an innovative tidal turbine control system, using the tidal turbine itself as a sensor, to deliver a step change improvement in the performance of the tidal energy sector.

By enhancing an existing tidal turbine controller and combining with a state-of-the-art control technology developed for wind turbines, the ELEMENT project will use behavioural modelling and artificial intelligence to optimise performance and deliver an adaptive control system that will slash the lifetime cost of energy by 17%, driving the EU tidal energy sector to commercial reality.

The objective of the project are to:
- Optimise the control system of a tidal turbine, using behavioural modelling to reduce predicted loads
- Use improved understanding of turbine behaviour to maximise energy yield
- Optimise tidal turbine design for world-leading improved performance and reduced cost
- Develop and demonstrate adaptable control system technology with a wide range of application
- Minimise environmental impacts by integrating environmental monitoring into the control system
- Increased resistance to marine environment & extended lifetime of tidal turbines
- Maximise shared learning between EU projects
- Improve the knowledge base regarding impacts of tidal energy on local communities
- Increase public support for tidal energy projects

Activities will include:
- Integrating state-of-the-art technology from the tidal and wind energy sectors
- Demonstrating a prototype system using onshore bench-testing, tow testing, and in-sea deployment at two real tidal sites
- Demonstration on subsea and floating devices, with geared and direct-drive drive trains
- Environmental and socioeconomic assessment of tidal energy at a regional, national and EU level
- Independent verification of project results
- Knowledge Transfer via a targeted communication programme

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 2 241 262,50
EH6 6QH Edinburgh
United Kingdom

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Scotland Eastern Scotland Edinburgh
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 2 241 262,50

Participants (14)