New Hydro

Eco Wave Power, university team for hydrokinetic development

Hydrokinetic energy company Eco Wave Power and the Ocean University of China have signed a memorandum of understanding that could see the first commercial-scale implementation of Eco Wave Power’s technologies.

Per the agreement, Ocean University will secure funding for the project and conduct related research and development.

MATIMOP – a Tel Aviv-based organization that provides mediation services between Israeli and foreign companies – said the design of generating units was of particular appeal to Ocean University.

Eco Wave Power used two medium-scale tests in June 2012 to demonstrate different variations of its product.

“The uniqueness of Eco Wave Power is in its innovative idea to develop and implement different floater shapes for every location and implementation,” said MATIMOP Program Manager Merav Tapiero. “Moreover, as opposed to offshore wave energy solutions, EWP came up with an energy conversion system that is located outside of the water, thereby improving reliability.”

Each unit features a differently shaped floater head, which is attached via a hinge-like boom to the end of a static platform. The floating head causes the arm to rise and fall as the waves do, thus creating the movement needed for power generation.

Neither Eco Wave Power nor Ocean University specified when or where installation of the units might begin.

OpenHydro, Irish utility developing 100 MW tidal plant

Marine turbine manufacturer Open-Hydro and Irish utility Bord Gais have been granted exclusive rights to develop a 100 MW tidal energy farm off Torr Head on the north coast of Antrim.

The hydrokinetic project, made possible by The Crown Estate as part of Northern Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy Strategic Tidal Plan, is expected to be complete by 2020.

“We are delighted to be awarded the lease to develop what could be the first tidal energy farm in the island of Ireland,” said OpenHydro Chief Executive Officer James Ives.

The joint venture will be called Tidal Ventures Ltd., combining OpenHydro’s tidal turbine technology with Bord Gais’ experience in delivering large-scale infrastructure energy projects, Ives said.

Tidal Ventures said it applied for the lease during a Crown Estate leasing round in December 2011.

Scotrenewables accepts loan to further tidal turbine development

Scotrenewables Tidal Power Limited (STPL) accepted a US$14.36 million financing package that will aid the design, construction and installation of a commercial-scale tidal turbine.

The 2-MW "SR2000" commercial-scale tidal turbine, similar to the one shown here, will be installed at teh Lashy Sound demonstration project in Spring 2014
The 2-MW “SR2000” commercial-scale tidal turbine, similar to the one shown here, will be installed at teh Lashy Sound demonstration project in Spring 2014

The package includes US$2 million in public funding from the Scottish government, with the remainder coming from three private companies.

These companies include Norwegian shipping group Fred Olsen and French oil business Total S.A. – both of which have invested in Scotrenewables previously – alongside newcomer ABB Technology Ventures.

“This is a major step on the road to making the company a real clean energy success story,” said Barry Johnston, STPL founder and chief executive officer.

Under terms of the agreement, ABB Technology Ventures will provide $8.12 million, with Fred Olsen and Total S.A. contributing the other $6.24 million in private financing. These funds will be dispersed in two equal tranches, pending STPL’s 2 MW “SR2000” tidal turbine, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2014.

The SR2000 will be installed at the Lashy Sound demonstration project under an “Agreement for Lease” awarded by the Crown Estate in November 2012.

China, Netherlands agree on 15 GW hydrokinetic project

Officials from China and the Netherlands have signed an agreement that could create a 15 GW hydrokinetic plant off the Chinese coast. The project would involve construction of a 30 km by 60 km T-shaped dam fitted with a number of conventional low-head turbines.

The Dutch consortium, called POWER (Partners Offering a Water Energy Revolution), said the massive structure will influence tidal patterns, simultaneously producing high and low tides on opposite sides. Water passing through the turbines would then produce energy in a process POWER calls “Dynamic Tidal Power,” potentially giving it enough capacity to rank among the largest hydropower projects in the world, the consortium said.

POWER said research, development and testing must be done before a full-size hydrokinetic plant can be built. “A lot of work must be done to determine if Dynamic Tidal Power is a feasible option for China,” said National Energy Administration of China representative Peng Cheng.

The Chinese group, founded in August 2012 by China’s National Energy Administration, consists of Chinese companies and research institutes.

POWER is operating with a two-year, US$2.71 million grant from the Netherlands government.

OPT awarded contract to research Japanese applications

Hydrokinetic power developer Ocean Power Technologies Inc. has received a US$900,000 contract from Japan’s Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding to further develop its buoy generation system for application in Japanese sea conditions.

OPT said the contract will allow it to continue analyzing methods of maximizing its PowerBuoy units through modeling and wave tank testing. Enhancements developed in conjunction with Mitsui will allow the units to capture even more power given Japan’s wave conditions, according to the company.

The analysis and design work is expected to be complete before May 2013, after which OPT says a decision will be made regarding the next step toward an ocean trial of the system.

The project reflects a recent initiative from the Japanese Environment Ministry, which said the country will increase its renewable generating capacity by more than six times its current capacity. The government specifically identified wave generation as a key component in this policy, setting a goal of 1,500 MW in new generation capacity to be created by 2030 via wave and tidal power sources.

Tocardo begins manufacturing for Japan, Nepal hydrokinetic projects

Hydroelectric turbine producer Tocardo International has begun manufacturing six free-flow turbines for installation in Nepal and Japan.

As per a March 2012 agreement, the Dutch company will supply 8 MW-worth of bi-directional turbine capacity to Japan over a three-year period and 2.5 MW of uni-directional turbine capacity to Nepal.

Installation of the company’s T100 generating units in Nepal is part of The Netherlands’ Private Sector Investment Program, which has allocated funds to create a joint venture between Tocardo and Nepal’s Glow Tech Solutions.

The company describes its free-flow, in-stream units as “underwater wind turbines,” with each unit generating power from sea, tidal and river currents.

Tocardo said both countries have been identified as regions where “sustainable, low-cost renewable energy is becoming increasingly important,” and that each has a “particular potential for tidal and in-stream technology.”

Tocardo also entered into an agreement with Huisman for offshore development.

The Dutch company said new shares have been issued, giving Huisman – which specializes in the design and fabrication of on- and offshore equipment – a minority stake in the business.

Tocardo said Huisman’s background in construction and engineering will complement its own experience in producing tidal free-flow water turbines, while the investment will be used to further research and development efforts.

Minesto launching next round of ocean power tests soon

Hydrokinetic energy company Minesto says it will soon begin a new round of testing with its “Deep Green” technology.

Minesto, which was awarded a Crown Estate license for testing in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough in December 2011, will build on previous research with the installation of a 1:4 test unit.

The company said it has already completed tests with a 1:10 unit, and based on the results of the quarter-scale unit, a commercial one could become a reality within the next few years.

Minesto describes the “Deep Green” system as an “underwater kite, comprised of a wing and a turbine which is secured to the seabed with a tether.” The unit “moves in a fast 8-shaped path in the tidal and ocean current.”

The installation is one of many hydrokinetic projects currently being developed in the UK as part of the EU’s renewable energy goal, which is targetting 20% of the EU’s power coming from green sources by 2020.

Developers submit application for power-generating lagoon

Potential developers of a massive US$880 million tidal power project have submitted an application to construct the plant on the Welsh coast.

The developers, Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd., proposed a 6 mile-long, 35 foot-high semi-circular sea wall that would enclose an area west of Swansea Marina. Turbines dotting the wall would provide a capacity of 250 to 350 MW 16 hours per day.

Should the Welsh government approve the plan, Swansea Bay Tidal said the project could be connected to the country’s national grid by 2017.

First, however, Swansea Bay Tidal officials said they will need to address a number of issues concerning the project, including its effects on marine life, erosion and boat access.

If built, the Swansea project will be privately financed by a consortium that includes Swansea Bay Tidal, Atkins Engineering, Van Oord, Costain and Sgurr Energy.

Local consultation on the project will begin this year, and a development consent application will be sent to the Planning Inspectorate in summer 2013.

EMEC to help establish Taiwanese hydrokinetic test site

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and several Asian universities and institutes have announced they will collaborate to develop a new marine energy test center in Taiwan.

Speaking at the Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference on Jeju Island, Korea, in early December 2012, EMEC official Richard Morris announced the organization has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Taiwan Ocean University, Industrial Technology Research Institute and Aquatera (a Scotland-based consultancy company).

“Taiwan has set a marine energy power generation target at 2025 to reach 200 MW and really needs a marine energy test site to serve local and international marine energy developers’ needs,” said ITRI Department Manager Sheng-Chung Lo.

The arrangement follows five years of preparatory work by Aquatera, which, EMEC said, has been working with the institute to create a long-term project for wave energy development in Taiwan.

The Taiwan project is the fourth wave energy test site announced by EMEC in the past year. Collaborations with the Ocean Energy Association of Japan, Ocean University of China, and Incheon Metropolitan City in South Korea have also been unveiled.

EMEC’s test center, located near Orkney, Scotland, will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary. The group said the experience it has gained there has been invaluable in establishing other hydrokinetic testing sites.

Report shows potential in Australia’s tidal development

A recently published report by research and analytics firm GlobalData shows that Australian tidal power development has the potential to produce four times the nation’s power needs. According to GlobalData, the new report was compiled utilizing data from primary and secondary research, databases and in-house analysis.

According to their research, the Southern Ocean (which includes the renowned ‘roaring 40s’ latitudes) is considered one of the most consistent sources of tidal energy worldwide. Australia has been implementing various initiatives to generate 20% of its power needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Funding for this includes greenhouse gas reduction grants totaling AUD$10 million (US$10.5 million) from the Western Australia state government and AUD$435 million (US$456.6 million) from Australia’s Renewable Energy Development Program for commercialization and deployment of renewable energy technology, including ocean energy.

The report also included a breakdown of costs for tidal development, profiles of major developers, and forecasts of installed capacity to 2030.

The tides of the Australian coastline are estimated to hold a potential of some 678 GWh annually; wave resources are estimated to hold 963 GWh of power generation potential.

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