Tidal energy start-up finds site for its tech if successful in UK’s 2025 CfD

London-based start-up tidal energy developer Spiralis Energy has revealed its intention to bid for a 15-year contract with the UK Government as a part of Contracts for Difference (CfD) 2025 to integrate its technology into the national grid. 

Source: Spiralis Energy

The company has already identified a site in Wales that it would use if successful. Establishing its manufacturing and array operations in Wales would create significant job and apprenticeship opportunities in the coastal industrial and maritime sectors, said Spiralis Energy.

Spiralis Energy aims to power up 11% of the national grid using its tidal energy technology. 

“The UK has the best tidal knowledge in the world. Our technology can deliver a renewable energy source that doesn’t harm sea life and sits within the circular economy framework,” said Chief Executive of Spiralis Energy, Guy Levene OBE.

“What makes Spiralis easy-to-scale is that our units have a modular design to enable them to fit into a standard shipping container for affordable transportation anywhere in the world. It’s really quite straightforward – we’re offering a simple, more affordable, more reliable and sustainable energy solution; our technology simply works.”

Spiralis is to test two of its Axial Skelter power-generating screws in the waters off Alderney in the Channel Islands. With some of the strongest tidal currents in Europe, and thanks to its unique seabed ownership, Alderney supports project development.

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Spiralis’ technology is based on principles similar to the Archimedes screw. According to the company, the initial testing in tidal waters of a 3D printed quarter-scale prototype Axial Skelter was successful, achieving computer-modelled (CFD) predicted power outputs.

Compared to existing renewable energy solutions, the energy output of an Axial Skelter is lower than that of an offshore wind turbine, said the company. They are cheaper to manufacture and maintain, costing about £1 million per unit with annual maintenance of around £100,000. 

Axial Skelters are designed for easy maintenance and have a standard servicing schedule. Their modular design allows for rapid repairs, where components can be swapped during slack tide periods, much like a pit stop at sea, said Spiralis Energy. Made from recycled materials, Axial Skelters are fully recyclable at the end of their life and pose minimal risk to marine life.

Regarding recent news coming from the company, Spiralis Energy has joined the UK Marine Energy Council (MEC) as a lead partner with 12 other companies, set to support the council’s work in realizing the UK’s marine energy potential.