Five British companies are celebrating today after they have received grant funding from the Government’s innovation experts at Innovate UK to develop tidal energy projects with Canadian businesses and universities.
Split across two projects, worth a combined £700,000, the projects will help governments, industry and academia better understand the impact of tidal technology on the marine environment, and the impact of the marine environment on that technology.
The first project involves UK-based FloWave TT, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), and Ocean Array Systems alongside British Columbia-based Dalhousie University, Black Rock Tidal Power and project leaders Rockland Scientific.
As part of this project, Rockland Scientific and its partners will develop a new sensor system to measure the impact of turbulence on tidal devices. Improved understanding of turbulence will allow developers to optimize design and deploy technology that can withstand the effects of strong tides and currents.
The second project involves UK-based Tritech International (a Moog Inc. Company), Ocean Sonics, and SMRU’s UK and Canada divisions in partnership with Nova Scotia-based OpenHydro Canada, Acadia University and project leaders Emera. This project will develop an acoustic sensing system to improve the detection and tracking of fish and marine mammals at tidal sites in the Bay of Fundy.
The software will be used at the Cape Sharp Tidal berth at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, gathering real-time data to assess the impact of its tidal turbine on marine life in the Bay of Fundy, Canada.
Today’s announcement is the first under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Nova Scotia and the UK. Two projects have been selected for funding through a partnership between the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA), a Nova Scotia based not-for-profit research facilitator, and Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation experts.
The project involving FloWave will carry out research in both UK and Canadian waters, including the University of Edinburgh’s FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility. This facility hosts a one-of-a-kind, 25-metre diameter circular wave and current tank that holds 2.4 million litres of water. Wave makers on the surface and flow-drive units underneath create currents in multiple directions, mimicking the conditions within tidal energy sites. Testing will also be conducted in Scotland’s Orkney Islands at EMEC and in Canada’s Bay of Fundy.
This project has recently received the internationally recognized EUREKA Label designation. EUREKA is an EU-based intergovernmental network with associate member nations, including Canada, and supports market oriented R&D and innovation projects. The label will add value to the Rockland project, providing partners with a competitive edge when it comes to commercializing technology.