Scottish technology developer Orbital Marine Power has received support from the European Commission in the development of its €26.7m ($31.5m) FORWARD 2030 project – aimed at accelerating the commercialisation of floating tidal energy. In addition to tidal power, the site will also harness wind, battery storage and green hydrogen production.
“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,” said Oliver Wragg, Orbital’s Commercial Director. “We now have a focused and highly experienced consortium dedicated to the delivery of tidal energy and committed to accelerating its future uptake. This alignment of interest sets FORWARD-2030 on course to have a meaningful impact as we build towards large scale commercially viable tidal energy projects.”
Located at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, the project will use Orbital’s tidal turbines in combination with a hydrogen production facility and battery storage. Orbital’s floating tidal turbine design will be developed under the project, with the group looking to improve performance and power. The group will be supported in this endeavour by its technical partner SKF, who are set to design a ‘power train solution’ for mass-scale production. In addition, the project partners will be investigating marine spatial planning and environmental monitoring tools for floating arrays.
The project is being partially funded by a €20.5m ($24.2m) grant through the EU Horizon 2020 programme, looking to identify and develop innovative technologies working to create the energy systems of our future.
Matthijs Soede, Senior Policy Officer at European Commission DG Research and Innovation commented:
“The FORWARD-2030 consortium shows a great ambition in tidal energy development itself, by clearly putting the large-scale development of the tidal energy market for 2030 in mind. Its success will be a milestone for the ocean energy sector and will support the clean energy transition in the long-term.”
Project partners include EMEC, who will host the facility and provide hydrogen production, LABORELEC, who will be developing smart tools to monitor the project, the University of Edinburgh which is providing techno-economic analysis of tidal energy, and the MaREI Centre at University College Cork, which will be examining marine spatial planning issues for wide scale commercialisation of tidal energy.