Researcher in Residence: A shift in stream

tidal stream tech

In a significant leap towards sustainable energy, a pioneering research project is set to transform Tidal Stream Energy into a commercial reality. With the recent awarding of the first Contracts for Difference and the installed capacity in the UK reaching 51.2MW by 2027, meticulous resource modelling and uncertainty analysis have become imperative for the engineering and economic success of these projects.

Led by the University of Exeter’s John Hardwick, this project is poised to revolutionise the landscape of tidal stream developments. Leveraging a state-of-the-art coupled flow-wave model developed during the successful EU Interreg-Channel Tidal Stream Industry Energiser project (TIGER), the projects aims to provide developers and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult with unparalleled data crucial for the advancement of tidal stream technologies.

Current practices often witness technology developers relying on simplified models for yield estimation, typically short-term and lacking in comprehensive consideration of long-term uncertainties and sensitivities. The absence of simulated data hinders accurate calculations of power production, establishment of engineering design envelopes, and formulation of operation and maintenance (O&M) strategies. These elements are foundational for the calculation of the Cost of Energy (CoE), a pivotal factor in determining the economic viability of tidal stream projects.

State-of-the-Art Resource Modeling: The project aims to refine and enhance the existing flow-wave model, ensuring it provides the most accurate and comprehensive data for tidal stream developments.

Long-Term Uncertainty Analysis: An integral aspect of the project involves addressing long-term uncertainties and sensitivities, providing a holistic view that extends beyond short-term estimations.

Enhanced Cost of Energy Calculations: By establishing robust engineering design envelopes and O&M strategies based on precise data, the project endeavors to contribute to more accurate and favorable Cost of Energy calculations.

John Hardwick expressed the significance of the project: “Tidal Stream Energy holds immense promise, but to unlock its true potential, we need a paradigm shift in resource modelling. Our project is positioned to provide the industry with the gold standard of data, fostering a new era of precision, sustainability, and economic viability in tidal stream developments.”

Dai Lewis, Senior Academic Engagement Manager at Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, said: “The Researcher in Residence programme has provided us with a great opportunity to continue the work that was undertaken during our Tidal Stream Industry Energiser project, also know as TIGER, and help accelerate the deployment of tidal stream technologies. We look forward to collaborating with Jon on this project and developing our relationship for the future.”

This project aligns with broader efforts to propel the renewable energy sector forward, contributing significantly to the UK’s ambitious clean energy goals.

Do you have a research idea like this one? Tranche 4 of our Researcher in Residence scheme will open in 2024. 

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