The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and HR Wallingford launched a tidal energy modeling tool for use by tidal energy developers to identify the most efficient sites for tidal energy converters, tidal arrays or tidal barrage schemes around the U.K. and French coastlines.
The computer program, SMARTtide (Simulated Marine Array Resource Testing), incorporates a 2D hydrodynamic model of the U.K.’s continental shelf and the north-west European coastline. The software will be available to the public from May 21 as a fee-for-service via a portal on HR Wallingford’s website.
The data that supports SMARTtide is the result of an earlier £450,000 project commissioned and funded by the ETI, which was led by Black and Veatch, in collaboration with HR Wallingford and the University of Edinburgh. That project improved the understanding of the possible interactions between tidal energy extraction systems as they are deployed between now and 2050.
The modeling tool calculates how energy extraction at one site may affect the energy available elsewhere. It also identifies how interactions between different sites around the U.K. combine to form an overall effect and critically considers what constraints these interactions will place on the design, development and location of future energy systems. The service allows modelers to create their own input specifications for a site and then the model is run on their behalf without the need for investment in expensive computers, bespoke model design costs and bathymetry (detail of water depth and seabed topography taken by detailed survey) data license costs.
Simon Cheeseman, ETI Program Manager for Marine technology, said, “It is important for tidal developers, investors and consenting authorities to understand the potential energy resource at a particular site and possible interactions. For a developer at the pre-feasibility stage, the software helps de-risk site selection, estimate energy extraction and inform selection for seabed survey. The development of this tool allows those in the development process to characterize the U.K.’s tidal energy resource, and evaluate the combined effects of energy extraction from potential sites without having the enormous investment in bespoke software models, hardware and license costs.
“This software provides the most comprehensive regional description of potential marine energy resources in UK waters. It complements the device and array design tools now emerging on to the market from the ETI’s PerAWAT project. Our hope is that as an inexpensive and easily accessible tool it will help guide policy and planning decisions for future site leasing rounds and standardize the site selection process.”
David Krohn, Wave and Tidal Development Manager at Renewable UK, commented, “This initiative is a welcome intervention to help marine energy developers with siting in order that the U.K. maximizes its huge potential for tidal energy development. HR Wallingford’s expertise in this area is renowned and it is heartening that the ETI has supported the generation of knowledge that helps the industry to target the most exploitable resources”.
Mark Liddiard, Business Manager for Energy at HR Wallingford added, “SMARTtide is 100 times more detailed than the current set available, making it the most highly detailed 2D hydrodynamic model available to the public for tidal energy extraction modeling, site selection and feasibility optimization. SMARTtide is a dynamic, credible and robust model for tidal energy array testing and has been independently verified by Black & Veatch and the universities of Oxford, Liverpool and Edinburgh.”
SMARTtide will be commercially available though HR Wallingford. The ETI and HR Wallingford will be present at All¬-Energy in Aberdeen on May 22 and 23, 2013 on ETI stand K28 at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, AB23 8BL should you wish to find out more.