ORBITAL TO ACCELERATE COMMERCIAL DEPLOYMENT OF FLOATING TIDAL ENERGY

September 14, 2021

The innovative Scottish technology developer, Orbital Marine Power (Orbital) will lead a pan-European consortium to deliver the €26.7m FORWARD-2030 project, set up to accelerate the commercial deployment of floating tidal energy.
The FORWARD-2030 project consortium will receive €20.5m of grant support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop a multi-vector energy system for the future. This system 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 (EMEC) in Orkney. Project partners will design options for integrating large scale tidal power into future net zero energy systems, whilst 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 for the FORWARD-2030 project.
During the project, Orbital will advance the company’s pioneering 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 will deliver several technical innovations targeting increased rated power, enhanced turbine performance and array integration solutions. These innovations will reduce the cost of Orbital’s sector-leading technology even further.
The next generation turbine will be deployed at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site off Eday in Orkney, where the company has already installed the O2, the world’s most powerful floating turbine, this summer. Once installed next to the O2, the new turbine will be part of the world’s most powerful floating tidal array.
Commenting on the award, Oliver Wragg, Orbital’s Commercial Director said:
“This endorsement of the Orbital technology by the European Commission is a huge vote of confidence in our capability to deliver commercially viable tidal energy. We now have a focused and highly experienced consortium dedicated to the delivery of tidal energy and committed to aOrbital Marine Power Ltd is an innovative Scottish engineering company, headquartered in Orkney, and focused on the development of a tidal energy turbine technology capable of producing a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy from tidal currents. The Orbital technology has been under continuous engineering development, including rigorous testing of scaled systems in both tank conditions and open ocean environments since the company was founded in 2002. The company currently employs 32 staff with offices in Orkney and Edinburgh“.
The O2 turbine has a 74m long hull structure with twin 1MW power generating nacelles at the end of retractable leg structures designed to give low-cost access to all major components for through life servicing. 10m blades give the O2 more than 600m2 of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy. The floating structure is held on station with a four-point mooring system where each mooring chain has the capacity to lift over 50 double decker buses. Electricity is transferred from the turbine via a dynamic cable to the seabed and a static cable along the seabed to the local onshore electricity network.
(Source and image: Orbital Marine Power)