We have contributed to an innovative ‘platform’ designed to dramatically cut the cost and risks of tidal energy projects. We undertook the tank test programme from the proof of concept to the demonstrator stage.

Key Facts

    • Novel concept with great potential cost benefits compared to competitors.
    • The 12-month project reassured potential investors.
    • We worked to a tight deadline - we were 'in the tank' six weeks after the contract was signed.
    • Demonstrated how Cranfield is a centre for experimental validation of marine renewable energy converters.
  • Funded by Low Carbon KEEP programme, which provided 40% revenue and capital funding to support collaborative partnerships between small to medium businesses (SMEs) in the East of England and universities in the UK

Impact of our research

We have contributed to the development of an innovative deployment platform, PLAT-O, that should substantially reduce the cost and risks associated with deploying tidal energy devices. This was carried out working closely with Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd – one of our CUBIC (Cranfield University Business Incubation Centre) companies.

The Low Carbon KEEP funding gave us the means to progress to commercial stage for the benefit of Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd and the industry in a short period of time. The success of the PLAT-O project enabled the company to secure additional funding to design, build and test an at-sea demonstrator, with a prototype deployed at sea just 18 months after the start of development.

Why the research was commissioned

The UK’s ageing electricity generation infrastructure and reliance on imported fossil fuels and nuclear power is becoming a key concern to the security of our energy supply.

Exploiting the energy of tidal flows where estimates suggest that two thirds of the country's tidal energy resource could generate up to 8% of the UK's electricity demand.

Why Cranfield?

We have a proud track record in turbomachinery, experimental hydrodynamics and structural integrity.

A comprehensive series of tests was undertaken in the water circulation channel at IFREMER. The dynamic response of the device was measured in a wide range of flow velocities, wave conditions (with / against current) and turbulence levels.

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