Mass manufacturing of tidal generators has come a step nearer as the corporate seals funding
Tidal energy company Nova Innovation has announced that it can advance a project to increase the production of tidal turbines after receiving funding from the Scottish Government.
The £ 2 million ($ 2.78 million) funding increase announced Thursday will be used to support the Volume Manufacturing and Logistics for Tidal Energy project, also known as VOLT.
According to Nova, VOLT will “develop the first European assembly line for the mass production of tidal turbines” and also “test innovative techniques and tools to ship, deploy and monitor turbines around the world”.
The project will also look at ways to improve turbine performance, including focusing on logistics related to mass production.
The scope of the technologies and systems used can be considerable. For example, Nova Innovation has installed a number of turbines in waters off Shetland, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland. When the tip of their blades is vertical, the height from their base is a little less than 14 meters.
Thursday’s news comes a little over a week after another company, Orbital Marine Power, said its O2 turbine started producing on-grid power at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, another archipelago north of mainland Scotland.
The 2 megawatt O2 is known as the “strongest tidal turbine in the world”, weighs 680 tons and is 74 meters long.
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Michael Matheson, Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, said the VOLT project was “an important milestone in the commercialization of the sector”.
“With our abundant natural resources and expertise, Scotland is ideally positioned to capitalize on the vast global ocean energy market while helping to achieve a net-zero economy both here and around the world,” he said in one Statement on Thursday. Funding comes from Scottish Enterprise, the country’s business development agency.
The potential of ocean energy
With miles of coastline, Britain as a whole is home to a number of marine energy-related projects.
In April, it was announced that a year-long research project focused on the potential of tidal, wave, and floating wind technology has received support from Marine-i, a program that focuses on innovation in areas such as ocean energy.
The project is based on the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the south west coast of England, and is led by Isles of Scilly Community Venture, Planet A Energy and Waves4Power.
There is also potential in rivers. Back in March, the Port of London Authority gave the green light to trials of tidal energy technology on a section of the Thames, a move that could eventually help decarbonise operations connected to the river.
While interest in the marine energy sector appears to be growing, its current footprint remains small.
Figures from Ocean Energy Europe show that last year Europe added only 260 kilowatts of tidal power capacity, while only 200 kW of wave energy was installed.
In contrast, according to the industry association WindEurope, 14.7 gigawatts of wind energy capacity were installed in Europe in 2020.