A consortium, led by Nova Innovation in collaboration with 11 other organisations including Wood, has won a major new European project that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve tidal turbine performance and accelerate the commercialisation of tidal energy.

The €5 million ELEMENT project will incorporate state-of-the-art AI technology from wind energy into tidal turbines to deliver an adaptive control system that improves turbine performance; slashing the lifetime cost of energy by 17% and driving the tidal energy sector to commercial reality.

The control technology will be demonstrated on a floating tidal device in the Étel estuary in Brittany in France and on a seabed-mounted Nova M100 turbine in the Shetland Tidal Array in Scotland.

Steve Noble, vice president of clean energy at Wood, said: “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our world and we’re proud to say we’re tackling this head-on by sharing our expertise and partnering with organisations such as Nova Innovation.

“Through our work on this project we are aiming to improve tidal turbine performance and accelerate the commercialisation of tidal energy. We want to create a brighter and more sustainable future and look forward to working with the rest of the consortium members as work progresses.”

Simon Forrest, chief executive officer of Nova Innovation, said: “Reliable tidal energy generation is now a reality.  It is no longer a matter of “if”, but “when” the technology becomes mainstream.  The sector has taken great strides forward in recent years and our drive is now to reduce costs to compete with conventional generation.

“Fortunately for our industry, many cost reduction techniques have already been demonstrated in established renewable technologies, such as offshore wind. By capturing this knowledge, we can reduce the costs of tidal energy more quickly by piggybacking on their technological advances.

“The EU has a clear global lead in tidal energy.  Nova Innovation is playing a leading role in making tidal energy part of the global energy transition.”

The project starts in June 2019 and runs until May 2022. It was won as a competitive contract awarded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The 100% funded project will help to maintain Europe’s global leadership in marine energy while driving down the cost of this emerging technology sector.

The project team of leading industrial, academic and research organisations also includes IDETA, Chantier Bretagne Sud, Innosea, Nortek AS, The University of Strathclyde, DNV GL UK, France Energies Marines, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and ABB UK.