Bluemull Sound | ORE Catapult

Joint project launched to improve our understanding of the UK’s tidal resource

Published 26 February 2014

With industry experts gathering in Belfast for the Renewable UK Wave & Tidal conference, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Nova Innovation Ltd have launched a joint project to better understand our tidal resource in order to maximise energy generation from tidal devices.

Nova Innovation Ltd, supported by the ORE Catapult, is launching the Tidal Array Model Real-World Evaluation project (TAM) aimed at improving existing tidal modelling techniques, and are calling on hydrodynamic modellers to help them by getting involved in shaping and designing the study.

The TAM project will enable the performance of existing hydrodynamic models to be compared against each other anonymously, with the outputs being validated using the UK’s first operational tidal array which will be developed, installed and operated by Nova in Bluemull Sound in Shetland.

The project will validate the resource models which predict the flow rates at a tidal energy site, based on local geographic and atmospheric conditions; validate the device models concerned with the interaction of flow with a stand-alone tidal turbine; and assess the performance of device models within Nova’s tidal array. Project participants will be able to use the results to calibrate, refine and enhance their own models and therefore increase understanding of tidal energy generation.

Once the study is complete, analysis of the performance of each model will be provided to the project participants, and an anonymised report will be published on the project findings and will be widely available to the industry.

ORE Catapult Innovation Programmes Director Chris Hill said: “Tidal devices, how they interact with their surrounding environment, and therefore how much energy they are likely to produce is still not fully understood by the industry. The TAM project is an important step in helping to better understand the tidal resource, and is an example of the ways in which the ORE Catapult is supporting offshore renewable energy businesses to address industry-wide challenges by devising innovative solutions.

“By working closely with Nova Innovation Ltd and hydrodynamic modellers, we aim to improve existing tidal modelling techniques which will help speed up and de-risk delivery of abundant, affordable renewable energy from tidal power.”

Nova Innovation Ltd’s Managing Director Simon Forrest said: “Nova will be installing the UK’s, and one of the world’s first, in-sea tidal energy arrays in the Bluemull Sound in Shetland. Partnering with the ORE Catapult in the TAM project will allow us to use this pioneering project to capture learning, for the benefit of future projects and the wider industry.”

The consultation to design the study ends on Friday 14 March 2014.

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