The BlueTEC LIFE+ project was aimed at testing a full scale floating tidal energy platform in realistic and challenging conditions to show improved economics for tidal energy generation with the Bluetec floating solution. This project was supported by the EU LIFE+ program (project LIFE09 ENV/NL/000426). The project consortium was formed with Bluewater and the Environmental Research Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands (ERI).
The proposed project objective was to demonstrate the technical feasibility and the cost effectiveness of a full scale floating tidal platform with multiple turbines. This floating solution aimed to reduce the financial and environmental drawbacks of the existing fixed seabed structure demonstration units.
The final objective of this project was to test an intermediate-sized platform with multiple turbines at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), located in Scotland. The project was however terminated early in 2016 and the berth at EMEC was cancelled.
The project output included detailed engineering designs of a large scale floating tidal energy platform, which can support multiple tidal turbines of megawatt (MW) capacities.
The project validated that Bluetec has the potential to positively contribute to sustainability and renewable energy goals (EU renewable energy targets, Reduction in CO2 emissions, minimum environmental footprint and visual impact, etc.).
Thanks to the support of the European Commission, the LIFE+ project successfully contributed to an operating, modular floating tidal energy platform prototype which was installed in 2015. The platform can support horizontal axis tidal turbines, and delivered electricity to the grid. It was located in the Wadden Sea, near the island of Texel (NL). For more information please see the Texel project site.
Key results of the Texel project:
- The platform performed well and its location remained within an acceptable excursion range
- The platform was installed in a short time frame
- Accessing the electrical equipment on the platform could be done quickly
- The tidal turbines reached their rated capacity
- The anti fouling paint on the hull (provided by the SEAFRONT project) performed well
The duration of the LIFE+ project was from 1 September 2010 up to 31 March 2016 (planned 1 September 2010 – 1 May 2017). During the development of the project, the following actions were planned and executed:
Project management (1 Sept-2010 to 31 March 2016)
In the project management phase, the execution plan for project implementation was developed. Actual project management was executed for the length of the project to ensure completion in time, on target and within budget.
Preparation for demonstration (1 Sept-2010 to 31 Jan-2015)
In this phase, the design was further developed and quotations requested. An overall risk assessment was executed and procedures to conform to regulations were established.
Technical Validation and Environmental Impact Analysis (1 Mar-2016 to 31 March 2016)
Different aspects of the system were monitored at the Texel site. Parameters such as platform behaviour, generated power, maintenance costs and marine growth were quantified and documented.
Dissemination and Communication (1 Sept-2010 to 31 March 2016)
The demonstration results were broadly disseminated. This was done to raise awareness of the environment as well as the economic benefits of the Bluetec device among stakeholders.