Future Energy

12 May 2022

First US Tidal Energy Developer Heads to Orkney Test Site

12 May 2022  by   

Shapinsay Sound test site. Credit: EMEC

California-based tidal energy developer Aquantis has signed a six-month berth agreement to test its Tidal Power Tug at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

In 2023, Aquantis will begin testing its Tug, a second-generation floating tidal energy converter, at EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound scale test site.

According to Aquantis, their spar-buoy platform supports a 10-meter diameter, two-bladed variable-pitch rotor and 160kW drivetrain.

Besides project management and operations support, EMEC will provide tidal resource monitoring, its Test Support Buoy enabling remote communications with the device, data relay and dissipation of power generated on site.

Testing at EMEC’s scale test site will allow Aquantis to gain marine experience and collect performance data.

Richy Ainsworth, US project engineer, EMEC said: “While EMEC has long supported the development of marine energy in the United States, Aquantis will be the first US ocean energy developer to physically test at EMEC.

“The Shapinsay Sound test site provides a perfect testing ground for Aquantis. The scale test sites are designed to provide developers with their first real-sea experiences, in gentler conditions to our grid-connected sites, so that they can get to grips with installation processes, test survivability in the gritty, salty sea environment and collect data to verify models developed during tank testing.

“We’ll be working closely with Aquantis to help the team prepare for their demonstration and look forward to welcoming them to Orkney next year.”

Peter Stricker, Aquantis’ chief commercial officer, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to test at EMEC’s world-class facility and work with the EMEC team…We will observe performance of this system for the first time operating in open water at the Shapinsay Sound test site. This promises to be a truly exciting moment for the Aquantis team as we prepare for deployment into the UK market.”

The demonstration of Aquantis’ Tidal Power Tug is supported by the Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project, led by EMEC. The tidal turbine is being developed via the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) SHARKS (Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems) programme.


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