Scottish tidal power pioneers to lead £4m EU direct-drive power take-off project


A European tidal energy consortium – led by Nova Innovation in Scotland –  has secured funding from the European Commission to demonstrate a new direct drive power take-off for tidal turbines.

The Tidal Turbine Power Take-off project will run for 36 months. It will build the PTO subsystem and conduct accelerated onshore testing in Germany followed by in-sea testing in Scotland with third party validation of the design and the test results.

The technology –  when commercialised – will reduce the lifetime cost of tidal power by 20% and provide long term system reliability. The consortium is to receive grant funding of €4.4 million under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for research and innovation.

The power take-off subsystem is the component that transforms the mechanical power in the tidal turbine rotor into electricity that is exported into the grid. 

The project consortium brings together complementary expertise and comprises: Nova Innovation Ltd (tidal turbine direct drive generator); Siemens plc (power electronics); SKF (bearing and seals); the University of Edinburgh (knowledge and modelling); Chair for Wind Power Drives – RWTH Aachen University (facility for drive train testing); Delft Technical University (knowledge and modelling); and Wood Group Kenny SAS │ Sgurr Energy (assessing and verifying the technology).

Simon Forrest, Managing Director of Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with European partner organisations to develop and demonstrate our direct drive PTO for tidal turbines.

“This will be a major step forwards for the global sector and significantly drive down the lifetime cost of tidal energy.”

Once complete the project deliverables will be used to raise market confidence in the maturing tidal energy industry and to maximise the benefit of the project to the ocean energy sector as a whole. A commercialisation strategy will be developed, for selling and licensing the PTO to tidal energy technology developers and to explore potential uses outside the tidal sector.

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