Marine Current Turbines Ltd , a Siemens business, is a United Kingdom-based company which is developing tidal stream generators. MCT was founded in 2000 to develop ideas of tidal power developed by Peter Fraenkel, who had previously been a founder partner of IT Power, a consultancy established to further the development of sustainable energy technologies. The company is based in Bristol and employed 15 people in 2007.By 2003, MCT had installed a 300 kW experimental tidal turbine 3 kilometres northeast of Lynmouth, Devon and by 2008 they had a 1.2 MW turbine, SeaGen, in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland which was able to feed electricity into the National Grid.They now have contracts to install a full tidal farm in the Skerries, off northwest Wales and projects in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia and Vancouver, Canada.In February 2012 Siemens acquired a majority share in the company, raising its holding from 45% to over 90%. MCT is now wholly owned by Siemens and is part of the Hydro and Ocean Business. Wikipedia.
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.04M | Year: 2012
Any structure exposed to breaking waves, be it a simple breakwater or a complex and expensive marine energy machine, will be exposed to high wave impact loads as overturning wave crests slam into it. The violence of the motion of the water surface as waves break are well-known to surfers who seek out such conditions. Marine renewable energy devices will be hit by the most violent storms that nature can produce, yet they are required to produce significant power when the weather is benign and the waves relatively small. This dichotomy can result in expensive failures such as that of the Osprey, a 2MW wave power prototype device located off the north coast of Scotland, which was damaged and sank in a storm. If marine renewable energy is to play a significant role in meeting the energy requirements of the the United Kingdom, all energy extraction devices must survive for many years and many large storms without damage. Hence accurate design methods are required to estimate the peak hydrodynamic loads occurring in such storms. This project explores the science and engineering required to ensure that renewable energy devices survive extreme conditions, and seeks to identify the upper limit of device operations in less severe conditions. Key to making a significant advance in survivability is understanding how steep and violent waves behave on significant currents. Both wave power machines and marine current turbines are likely to be located in relatively shallow water with relatively fast tidal currents, obviously for tidal turbines this is a virtue! If the current is fast and the water shallow, there will be considerable resistance to the flow close to the sea-bed and less further up towards the surface. Thus, the current is likely to be highly sheared and very turbulent. Add on top of this bulk flow violently overturning steep waves and it is clear that the water will be moving around very fast in local regions. The first part of this project is to characterize the statistics of waves and how this varies over time for decades to decades. Next the waves are combined with sheared currents. Then models of marine renewable energy devices will be exposed to such violent combined wave and current events and the forces measured. Finally we aim to develop and test force computer based computational methods for assessing loads. The overall output from this research project will make an important contribution to removing blocks limiting and slowing down the large-scale implementation of marine renewable energy.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENERGY.2012.2.6.1 | Award Amount: 13.62M | Year: 2013
A full tidal array has not been installed anywhere, commercially to date. A number of the leading turbine manufacturers have part or full scale working prototypes which are under-going testing in various sites the majority of which are enclosed in semi-test environments. In order to move this nascent technology into the commercial arena and expedite market deployment, it is necessary to establish an array of turbines in one site to verify the performance capability and environmental characteristics of a full array. The demonstration will also enable developers to make critical investment decisions based on the cost to market of deploying the technology, and manufacturers to establish likely interaction effects between machines which will inform their design. As with other technologies, notably wind, the manufacture and installation costs will drop as the technology matures. The SPV will deliver one of the first operating tidal energy farms, located 2km off the coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland by 2017. Critically the Fair Head site is a scalable (to 100MW) open sea real site representative of a significant percentage of the near future exploitable tidal resource. The TIDES project will produce many specific results which will benefit the industry as a whole:- 1. Prove the energy conversion potential of a tidal array in a real sea environment. 2. Develop viable financial models to support commercial exploitation. 3. Identify potential future energy cost reduction techniques including innovative installation methodologies. 4. De-risk tidal energy projects and make them more bankable. The S&T objectives include addressing technical problems associated with the environment, demonstrating the deployment of an array, environmental assessment, generation and yield assessment. The proposed consortium has an appropriate and replicable site, market leading technology and sufficient financial backing to ensure the project is built.
Marine Current Turbines | Date: 2014-06-23
A method for mounting a tidal turbine and an associated support structure in a river or sea bed includes mounting the tidal turbine to a support structure and mounting the support structure upon a base, the base being of such weight as to involve gravitational forces of such magnitude as to be sufficient to withstand forces acting in such manner as to tend to displace the turbine and the associated support structure. A periphery of an underside of the base is provided with expandable members, the expandable members being selectively expanded to position the base more nearly horizontal when in contact with a sea or river bed. The base is formed as a hollow shell enabling the base to be floated into position, and, when the base is in a desired position, sinking the base to the sea or river bed in a controlled manner.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 530.89K | Year: 2011
The proposed project enables additional environmental studies to be conducted during 18 months of operation of SeaGen in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. SeaGen is a full commercial scale 1.2MW device which was installed in April 2008. By March 2012 SeaGen had delivered 4 GWh of electricity to the grid. These additional studies are not part of the environmental monitoring programme (EMP) required as part of the consenting process to install and operate SeaGen in Strangford Lough. The EMP was conducted between March 2008 and March 2011. The additional studies are aimed at providing data to help the regulators assess the impacts of tidal arrays on the environment. The studies will focus on three areas: • The QUB studies enhanced the data already gathered to predict the impacts of arrays upon benthic communities. • The University of Exeter utilised existing bird data sets, and augmented these results with additional field surveys to assess the impacts of tidal arrays on birds. • The Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton conducted subsea noise surveys on SeaGen to ; assess the impacts of this noise on the subsea environment, identify the noise sources on SeaGen and work with MCT To reduce the potential for noise generation. ISVR also produced a noise propagation model to extrapolate the potential noise from tidal array sites.
Marine Current Turbines | Date: 2013-07-10
The invention relates to a support system for a marine turbine installation including a support column (1) which is arranged to be installed vertically, a turbine support assembly (2/14) including a horizontally arranged turbine support structure (4/15) adapted for displacement lengthways of the associated support column (1), at least two turbine units (3) operationally carried by the support structure (4/15) and means (41/44, 26/41, 52/55, 65/66) for enabling selective displacement of the turbine support assembly (2/14) lengthways of the associated column (1).
News Article | December 9, 2014
Harnessing the power of the oceans sounds like a great way to make electricity. There’s no Nimby problem because the generating equipment is out at sea. Waves and tides aren’t as subject to the vagaries of weather as solar and wind energy are. With oceans covering two-thirds of earth’s surface, it can seem the ultimate source of clean, renewable energy. Why, then, are so many marine-power companies going out of business? Pelamis Wave Power of Scotland, a global leader in the sector, is seeking bankruptcy protection after running out of money last month. Germany’s Siemens (SIE:GR) is exiting the business and putting its Marine Current Turbines unit up for sale because of slower-than-expected development. Ocean-power companies in Australia and Ireland also have closed up shop recently, and others are struggling. New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT) this year canceled plans to deploy wave-generating equipment off the coast of Oregon and in Australia. It turns out that making electricity from the ocean is tougher and more expensive than people thought. Offshore generators—which include submersible turbines powered by tides and buoy-like devices that bob on the surface to capture the kinetic energy of waves—have to withstand “an incredibly harsh environment” of salt water, storms, and powerful currents, says Angus McCrone, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. Specially designed ships are needed to install and maintain the equipment. All this drives up costs to as much as four times the cost of generating electricity from coal. Marine-power companies have already burned through nearly $1 billion in investment without a successful commercial launch. Raising additional money will be difficult becauseinvestors “have become much more realistic about the difficulties involved,” McCrone says. Worldwide, BNEF estimates that 519 megawatts of ocean power was installed by the end of 2013. That’s less than half the capacity of a typical nuclear reactor. Some governments continue to kick in subsidies, though. Britain, for example, has set a guaranteed price of $478 per megawatt-hour for ocean-generated power, more than twice the price of offshore wind-generated electricity. Even after the failure of Pelamis, British Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the government expects ocean power to play a greater role in meeting the country’s energy needs. Not all companies are giving up. Those still plugging away include London-listed Atlantis Resources (ARL:LN), backed by Morgan Stanley (MS), which is developing tidal-power projects in Scotland, Canada, and elsewhere. Tidal-power technology development is more-advanced than wave power, McCrone says, with several megawatt-scale demonstration projects already operating. However, he says Siemens’s withdrawal from tidal power “will affect confidence” in that sector.
News Article | November 9, 2015
Marine Current Turbines (MCT), the tidal energy company owned by German engineering giant Siemens has announced that it has suspended development of a planned 10 MW tidal array in Wales.
News Article | November 9, 2015
Technology and equipment giant Siemens AG has decided to sell its tidal energy company, Marine Current Turbines Ltd., citing slow development in the marine and hydrokinetics sector.
News Article | December 15, 2016
Tidal power developer Atlantis Resources is shifting up a gear on its near-400MW MeyGen development in Scotland's Pentland Firth, with a final investment decision on the giant project's next 6MW phase now taken following completion of the construction contract tender. Fabrication work on so-called Project Stroma, which will be built around four 1.5MW Marine Current Turbines (MCT) in the Inner Sound area of a stretch of water referred to in sailor's lore as 'Hell's Mouth', will get underway in 2017, building on the 6MW pilot switched on in November. “The lessons we have learned from Phase 1A and the confidence it has given to both us and our supply chain allow us to deliver significant improvements and refinements in this next phase," says Atlantis chief executive Tim Cornelius. "We believe these improvements will yield more electricity for each pound of investment and represent a material step down our cost reduction curve. [We] have been working towards this investment decision in line with the specified programme for the [European Commission's] NER300 fund, which has awarded €16.8m of grant support to Project Stroma. "This next phase of the MeyGen site development is an important step in demonstrating progress to a lower cost of energy for tidal stream." Unlike the 1.5MW Andritz Hydro Hammerfest turbines for the lead-off phase, which were installed mated to "material-intensive" gravity bases, the MCT machines – purchased by Atlantis from Siemens in 2015 in an all-share deal – will be anchored to the seabed using drilled-in foundation structures. Though total capital investment in the second phase at MeyGen remains confidential, an Atlantis spokesman told Recharge the developer expects the cost to be "significantly lower per megawatt installed than phase 1A, as much as 20%", which would put Stroma in the range of £40-£45m. Earlier this year, Atlantis unveiled what it thought to be a world-first grid-sharing arrangement with a nearby wind farm, citing the highly predictable nature of tidal generation cycles. In June, the development site was connected to the 33kV Ness of Quoys distribution network, following installation of underground power export cables by network operator Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution. Fully developed, the 398MW tidal project would generate electricity for 175,000 homes.