Photo: Orbital Marine Power

Orbital to lead EU-backed floating tidal net-zero project

Scottish Orbital Marine Power is set to lead a pan-European consortium to deliver the €26.7 million FORWARD-2030 project dedicated to accelerating the commercial deployment of floating tidal energy.

The consortium will receive €20.5 million of grant support from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop a multi-vector energy system that will combine predictable floating tidal energy, wind generation, grid export, battery storage and green hydrogen production.

The project will see the installation of the next iteration of the Orbital turbine, integrated with a hydrogen production facility and battery storage at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday in Orkney.

Project partners will design options for integrating large-scale tidal power into future net-zero energy systems while developing environmental monitoring and marine spatial planning tools for large floating tidal arrays.

Orbital will act as project coordinator, as well as lead technology developer. During the project, the company will advance its floating tidal turbine design, with support from technical partner SKF, who will design and build an optimised fully integrated power train solution, designed for volume manufacture.

The partners plan to deliver several technical innovations targeting increased rated power, enhanced turbine performance and array integration solutions., which are expected to further reduce the cost of Orbital’s technology.

EMEC will host the demonstration, facilitate hydrogen production, deliver a comprehensive environmental monitoring programme, and develop a live environmental monitoring system and test programme.

LABORELEC will assess the large-scale integration of tidal energy to the European energy system, develop a smart energy management system and an operational forecasting tool. The University of Edinburgh will deliver a techno-economic analysis of tidal energy, and the MaREI Centre at University College Cork will be responsible for addressing marine spatial planning issues for wide-scale uptake of tidal energy.

“FORWARD-2030 will show what the energy system of the future looks like by combining offshore renewable generation, with onshore wind and EMEC’s onshore hydrogen and storage facilities – all done in the novel context of an island grid,” said Rob Flynn, commercial manager at EMEC. “The project represents a major step forward for the commercialisation of tidal energy and we are delighted it has received this significant stamp of approval from the European Commission.”

The Fast-tracking Offshore Renewable energy With Advanced Research to Deploy 2030MW of tidal energy before 2030 (FORWARD-2030) project will run from 2021 to 2025.

In addition to the partnership, two project developers and two utilities have committed to join the project advisory board. Between the advisory board and consortium members, 2030MW of tidal energy sites have already been identified and are under various stages of development.