Tidal energy: the opportunities and the challenges

Posted By : Joe Bush
Tidal energy: the opportunities and the challenges

Research which has been published by the NSRI (National Subsea Research Initiative), has identified the potential enablers which will assist subsea supply chain companies to break into the growing wave and tidal energy sectors, and associated technological barriers to their progress

The findings, part of NSRI’s online Matchmaker database, reveal how UK firms can link up with technology researchers and developers to adapt their offerings and take advantage of the immediate diversification opportunities in marine renewables. 

Matchmaker aims to connect organisations already active in the wave and tidal energy space to collaborate, solve industrial challenges and progress research and development activity.

Split into six themes - operations and maintenance; subsea structures; installation; systems; health and safety; and environmental impact, companies can quickly identify how they can support the wave and tidal sectors by selecting their specialisms.

Dr Gordon Drummond, Project Director of NSRI commented: “The wave and tidal sectors are less mature in their contribution to energy production, and as a result they are currently more expensive than traditional generating resources. With help from the subsea supply chain and advances in technology, both sectors have the potential to extract sustainable energy from the ocean at a low cost.

“This presents a huge opportunity for subsea supply chain companies to adapt their technologies and techniques to support the development of large scale wave and tidal power farms. To help them do this, we have mapped out the technical challenges with support from industry experts to pinpoint areas where their capabilities can add significant value.

“There’s no denying marine renewables has struggled to make its mark and this is partly down to the engineering challenges of operating at sea, including the mechanical stresses of the ocean and the corrosive effects of salt water.

“These are obstacles that the UK subsea industry has successfully overcome. By harnessing this world renowned experience in offshore oil and gas engineering, we have the skills and expertise to lead the way in the tidal and wave sectors.

“We hope Matchmaker will clearly highlight exactly how subsea companies can play their part, diversify their offering and make the connections required to break into the wave and tidal market.”

NSRI will host a joint industry event in Aberdeen early next year, giving stakeholders across the sector the opportunity to discuss the challenges and possible solutions, matching industry needs with academic capabilities and supply chain offerings.

Companies and centres of excellence in the supply chain are free to submit information on their services, and current technology development activities under the relevant Matchmaker themes via the NSRI website. The aim is to partner end users with technology researchers and developers in order to advance technology development in the subsea industry.

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