Orbital Marine Power Ltd (Orbital), the world’s leading developer of floating tidal stream turbines, has appointed Black & Veatch as Lead Engineering Partner to support technology optimisation and cost reduction engineering under the company’s €5m R&D programme.
Supported by the INTERREG France (Channel) England TIGER project, the four year programme will build on Orbital’s unique floating tidal turbine technology, the O2, in a focused initiative to identify and de-risk innovations capable of accelerating cost reductions for tidal stream energy.
Commenting on the programme Andrew Scott, CEO, Orbital Marine Power said: “A central strand to the development of our O2 technology was a vision for the future and to ensure we created a product which is well futureproofed for ongoing innovation. So it is great to have started this work in more detail and that the initial assessments from Black and Veatch back up our own projections that the correct configuration of technology can make tidal stream energy competitive with established sectors.”
At the heart of the initiative Black & Veatch have created a digital twin of Orbital’s current turbine design that allows the teams to model turbine improvements and identify which advances deliver the lowest levelised cost of energy across the entire turbine lifecycle.
Robbie Gibson, Black & Veatch Renewable Energy Services Director for Europe said; “We’re delighted that Orbital has selected us to support their development programme as we see the technology as having huge potential to deliver cost competitive low carbon energy and our team has a huge amount of experience it can bring to assist this journey.”
Beyond Black & Veatch, the R&D programme will engage with TIGER project partners and wider industry experts to advance leading optimisations for the O2 platform, with dramatic cost reductions targeted through incorporating learning from similar applications across mature energy sectors including wind, where increases in blade lengths and component reliability have delivered plummeting generating costs.
The innovations will be rolled out on a continuous basis on future O2 units as Orbital transitions to becoming a global supplier of low-cost tidal energy systems.
About Orbital Marine Power Ltd.
Orbital Marine Power Ltd is an innovative Scottish engineering company 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.
Orbital was the first company in the world to successfully grid connect a floating tidal turbine in 2011. In 2016 the company launched the SR2000, the world’s most powerful tidal stream turbine. The SR2000 produced in excess of 3GWh of electricity over its initial 12-month continuous test programme. At the time this represented more power from a single turbine than had been generated cumulatively by the wave and tidal sector in Scotland over the 12 years prior to the launch of the SR2000.
In October 2018 Orbital opened a £7m crowd funding debenture on the London-based Abundance Investment platform to support the build of the O2 turbine with the target being met inside 10 weeks. The Orbital O2 will comprise of a 72m long floating superstructure, supporting two 1 MW turbines at either side for a nameplate power output of 2MW, at a tidal current speed of 2.5 m/s. With rotor diameters of 20m, it will have a 600sq metre rotor area, the largest ever on a single tidal generating platform to date.
The O2 project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the FloTEC project (grant agreement No. 691916) and the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg North West Europe Programme under the ITEG project.
This project has also received support under the framework of the OCEANERA-NET COFUND project, with funding provided by national / regional sources and co-funding by the European Union’s Horizon2020 research and innovation programme.
About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries by addressing the resilience and reliability of our world’s most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2019 were US$3.7 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and on social media.