Nova Gets New €5 Mln Tidal Energy Project

Nova Innovation-led consortium has won a new European project, ELEMENT, that will use Artificial Intelligence to improve tidal turbine performance and accelerate commercialization of tidal energy.

M100 turbine, Photo: Nova Innovation

The ELEMENT project will incorporate Artificial Intelligence technology from wind energy into tidal turbines to deliver an adaptive control system that improves turbine performance; slashing the lifetime cost of energy by 17% and driving the tidal energy sector to commercial reality.

Nova Innovation heads a consortium of 11 industrial, academic and research organizations from across Europe. Joining Nova in the project team are IDETA, Chantier Bretagne Sud, Innosea, Wood, Nortek, The University of Strathclyde, DNV GL UK, France Energies Marines, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and ABB UK.

The control technology will be demonstrated on a floating tidal device in the Étel estuary in Brittany and on a seabed-mounted Nova M100 turbine in the Shetland Tidal Array.

The €5 million project starts in June 2019 and runs until May 2022. It was won as a competitive contract awarded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Simon Forrest, chief executive officer of Nova Innovation, said: “Reliable tidal energy generation is now a reality. It is no longer a matter of “if”, but “when” the technology becomes mainstream. The sector has taken great strides forward in recent years and our drive is now to reduce cost to compete with conventional generation.

“Fortunately for our industry, many cost reduction techniques have already been demonstrated in established renewable technologies, such as offshore wind. By capturing this knowledge, we can reduce the costs of tidal energy more quickly by piggybacking on their technological advances.

“The EU has a clear global lead in tidal energy. Nova Innovation is playing a leading role in making tidal energy part of the global energy transition.”

Olivier Bontems, director at IDETA, added: “Within this project, IDETA will conduct a socioeconomic assessment of the potential impact of estuary, river and tidal energy at the regional, national and EU level.

“As a regional development agency for Picardy Wallonia’s, IDETA has prioritized increasing renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency. IDETA has extensive project development experience with a focus on community involvement to maximize local use of green energy. The empowering of citizens is a regulatory principle which presents a lot of advantages such as improving public acceptance, promoting local and collective self-consumption and increasing flexibility of the energy market. It is also a way to improve the integration of intermittent energy on the public grid.”

Yann-Hervé De Roeck, chief executive officer of France Energies Marines, added: “France Energies Marines is very proud of supporting tidal energy development since 2012, with more than 20 R&D collaborative projects related to this promising technology, including the current ELEMENT project. Testing of the Nova turbine in the Ételriver in order to develop an innovative control technology is of major importance for French tidal energy deployments. Our institute will contribute to assess the environmental integration of tidal energy devices by measuring physical as well as biological characteristics at the Ételtest site. This will be followed by developing indicators that will be used in continuous monitoring in order to reduce the potential environmental impacts of offshore renewable energy.”