A project between Cranfield University and Sustainable Marine Energy, funded by the Low Carbon KEEP programme, has developed an innovative ‘platform’ designed to dramatically cut the cost and risks of tidal energy projects.

The UKs aging electricity generation infrastructure and reliance on imported fossil fuels and nuclear power is becoming a key concern to the security of UKs energy supply. Exploiting the energy of the seas’ tidal flows, where estimates suggest two-thirds of the country’s tidal energy resource is located, could generate up to 8% of the UKs electricity demand.  

Sustainable Marine Energy and a team of academics headed by Dr Florent Trarieux, Lecturer in Offshore Engineering at Cranfield University have recently completed a 12 month project developing an innovative deployment platform, PLAT-O, that substantially reduces the cost and risks associated with deploying tidal energy devices.

Dr Trarieux said: “The Low Carbon KEEP gave us the means to progress a great idea to commercial stage for the benefit of Sustainable Marine Energy and the industry in a very short period of time. Having a prototype deployed at sea in 18 months of development is mind-blowing! This is an excellent framework creating positive incentives for all the stakeholders to deliver the work quickly and efficiently. In a new industry such as tidal energy, this could well have a definite impact on who will be the game changers.”

Fabrizio Fiore, was employed as the graduate managing the project and was tasked with transferring and applying the knowledge and expertise of Dr Trarieux’s team to the challenges that Sustainable Marine Energy was facing.

Jason Hayman, Managing Director of Sustainable Marine Energy said: “This programme has helped our organisation reach out across Cranfield University and tap into a wide range of expertise. The success of the PLAT-O project has enabled the company to secure additional funding to design, build and test an at-sea demonstrator.”

The Low Carbon KEEP programme provides 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.

Notes for editors

About Low Carbon KEEP
Low Carbon KEEP funding is available to qualifying SMEs in the East of England and aims to support innovative companies that are looking for academic support and assistance to improve and develop products, reduce resource consumption and increase revenue and profits.

Projects, which run from 4 to 12 months, are managed and delivered by an experienced graduate, working full-time in the business to deliver the project objectives. The graduate acts as a conduit between a designated academic expert and the company, ensuring that the latest research and expertise is available to the business and that it is applied to the specific company objectives.


About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Energy and Power at Cranfield

Cranfield has been a leader in energy and power for 20 years. Our expertise includes low carbon energy supply, power generation, advanced fossil fuel technologies and transport systems. Our teaching and research covers offshore renewables, oil and gas engineering, the production and clean utilisation of fossil fuels, combustion and power generation through to bioenergy and the utilisation of wastes as fuel.

We have long-standing strategic partnerships with Alstom Power, BP, Centrica, Chevron, Doosan Babcock, Dong Energy, Petrofac, Rolls-Royce, Shell, Siemens and many others.

Our world-class facilities include the Structural Integrity Laboratory, which has a wide range of equipment to study the mechanical behaviour of components and material samples up to 250,000 tonnes and has machines unique to any university in Europe, and the Ocean Systems Test Laboratory, designed for model testing at the early stage of marine renewable projects.