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Feasibility study for an innovative direct drive tidal turbine

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Direct Drive TT (Feasibility study for an innovative direct drive tidal turbine)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

The company
Nova Innovation is a tidal energy technology company: we design, build, deploy and operate tidal turbines. We have developed proprietary, patented technology for capturing energy from the tides, and deployed our first demonstrator device in the Bluemull Sound in Shetland, Scotland, in April 2014. In 2015 we will deploy the world’s first in-sea tidal array at the same site. Nova Innovation’s goal is to be the world’s leading tidal energy technology company.

The opportunity
The business opportunity addressed by this project is the global drive for low-cost, low-carbon electricity supply. Tidal energy is a vast global resource but existing technologies for exploiting it are relatively unproven and expensive. Significant cost reduction and real-world operational experience is required to improve the reliability of turbines and bring costs down to the point where tidal power can compete with conventional and other renewable forms of generation.

The solution
To address these challenges, Nova Innovation has developed a proprietary direct drive technology for our tidal turbines. This innovation significantly improves the reliability and reduces the cost of tidal power by: decreasing the number of expensive and failure-prone components; improving energy conversion efficiency; and reducing the frequency of interventions in harsh offshore environments. Successful demonstration of a direct-drive design will significantly increase the competitiveness of Nova Innovation’s tidal turbine product. Reducing the cost of operation and maintenance of tidal projects will increase Return on Investment for customers allowing the company to sell more devices into an emerging global market.

Objectives of this project
The purpose of this Phase 1 SME Instrument project was to conduct a feasibility study and develop a business plan for the exploitation of our direct drive tidal turbine.
The work packages involved in this project are outlined below.

Market Assessment
A global review of the tidal energy market identified a market potential of over 50GW for tidal stream energy. Key stakeholders including potential clients, investors, regulators, legislators, project partners and supply chain companies were consulted to identify opportunities and barriers to commercialisation. A supply chain review identified gaps in existing market capabilities and mitigation strategies were developed to address these.

Intellectual Property (IP) review
A thorough assessment of relevant prior art was conducted. This established freedom to operate and identified promising areas for patent protection. The results were incorporated into Nova Innovation’s IP strategy.

Competitor analysis
Research was conducted to identify key competitors, evaluate their current status, and assess their business strategies. A number of areas for potential pan-European collaboration were identified and are being pursued. The outputs from this work sharpened Nova Innovation’s competitive advantage.

Cost assessment
An analysis of the lifetime cost of energy of our direct drive tidal turbines was used to determine the optimum scale and price point for our tidal energy devices. The results underpinned the business case for the direct drive product by confirming the return on investment that our clients will achieve.

Risk Assessment
An assessment was conducted of the commercial, technical, business and environmental risks in the business plan. Mitigation strategies and controls were identified and incorporated into the business plan.

Business Plan
The results of the above analysis were incorporated into a robust business plan to exploit our direct drive turbine technology. Our next step in commercialising this research will be the successful delivery of our direct drive turbine demonstrator project, funded by the Scottish Government WATERS scheme. This will be followed by deployment of an array of market-changing, direct-drive turbines.
The primary impact of this project on the company was the development of a robust business plan for the commercial exploitation of our direct drive turbine product. We will disseminate and exploit the results of this project through delivery of the business plan.

The impact on users and the market will be the development of a low-cost, reliable and sustainable source of renewable energy. This will increase the rate of return for investors in tidal and river hydrokinetic projects, increase the penetration of renewable generation on the grid, increase European market share in renewable energy technology development and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions.

Nova Innovation’s goal is to be the world’s leading tidal energy technology company. European SME’s have pioneered the development of renewable energy; our ambition is to continue this success in the delivery of a commercial tidal energy market.
The Nova 30: the world's first community-owned tidal turbine