UK: HR Wallingford, ETI Launch Tidal Energy Modelling Tool

UK HR Wallingford, ETI Launch Tidal Energy Modelling Tool

HR Wallingford and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) have launched SMARTtide, a unique tidal energy modelling tool.

SMARTtide stands for Simulated Marine Array Resource Testing model and is designed for use by the tidal industry. It covers the UK’s continental shelf and north-west European coastline. The powerful suite of models identifies the most efficient sites for tidal energy converters, tidal arrays or tidal barrage schemes around the UK and French coastlines.

SMARTtide calculates how energy extraction at one site may affect the energy available elsewhere. It also identifies how interactions between different sites around the UK combine to form an overall effect. Importantly it also considers what constraints these interactions will place on the design, development and location of future energy systems.

 Mark Liddiard, Business Manager for Energy at HR Wallingford says:

”SMARTtide is 100 times more detailed than the currently available data set, making it the most highly resolved 2D hydrodynamic model available to the public for tidal energy extraction modelling, site selection and feasibility optimisation. SMARTtide is a dynamic, credible and robust model for tidal energy array testing and has been independently verified by Black & Veatch and the universities of Oxford, Liverpool and Edinburgh.”

 David Krohn, Wave and Tidal Development Manager at Renewable UK says:

“This initiative is a welcome intervention to help marine energy developers with siting in order that the UK maximises its huge potential for tidal energy development. HR Wallingford’s expertise in this area is renowned and it is heartening that the ETI has supported the generation of knowledge that helps the industry to target the most exploitable resources”.

Simon Cheeseman, ETI Programme Manager for Marine technology, says:

“It is important for tidal developers, investors and consenting authorities to understand the potential energy resource at a particular site and possible interactions. For a developer at the pre-feasibility stage, the software helps de-risk site selection, estimate energy extraction and inform selection for seabed survey. The development of this tool allows those in the development process to characterise the UK’s tidal energy resource, and evaluate the combined effects of energy extraction from potential sites without having the enormous investment in bespoke software models, hardware and licence costs.

 This software provides the most comprehensive regional description of potential marine energy resources in UK waters. It complements the device and array design tools now emerging on to the market from the ETI’s PerAWAT project. Our hope is that as an inexpensive and easily accessible tool it will help guide policy and planning decisions for future site leasing rounds and standardise the site selection process.”

The data that supports SMARTtide is the result of an earlier £450,000 project commissioned and funded by the ETI, which was led by Black & Veatch, in collaboration with HR Wallingford and the University of Edinburgh. That project improved the understanding of the possible interactions between tidal energy extraction systems as they are deployed between now and 2050.


Press release, April 24, 2013; Image: hrwallingford

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