Aquantis becomes first US developer to test at EMEC

California-based Aquantis is to test its Tidal Power Tug at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.


The company, which was formed in 2011, has signed a berth agreement for a six-month testing programme in 2023 at EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound scale test site.

“Aquantis will be the first US ocean energy developer to physically test at EMEC,” said Richy Ainsworth, US project engineer, EMEC. “The Shapinsay Sound test site provides a perfect testing ground for Aquantis. The scale test sites are designed to provide developers with their first real-sea experiences, in gentler conditions to our grid-connected sites, so that they can get to grips with installation processes, test survivability in the gritty, salty sea environment and collect data to verify models developed during tank testing.”

Aquantis’ Tidal Power Tug, a second generation floating tidal energy converter, is a spar-buoy platform that supports a 10m diameter, two-bladed variable-pitch rotor and 160kW drivetrain. Testing at EMEC’s scale test site will provide Aquantis with experience of marine operations whilst generating performance data to validate its loading and dynamics model, controller functionality and load mitigation techniques.EMEC said it will support Aquantis’ testing with tidal resource monitoring and the provision of its Test Support Buoy that enables remote communications with the device, data relay via EMEC’s SCADA system, and safe dissipation of power generated on site. The research centre will also provide project management, operations, consenting, monitoring and performance testing support.The demonstration of Aquantis’ Tidal Power Tug is supported by the Interreg North-West Europe’s Ocean DEMO project, led by EMEC. The tidal turbine is being developed via the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) SHARKS (Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems) program.Peter Stricker, Aquantis’ chief commercial officer, said: “The Power Tug represents a number of design breakthroughs innovated through the SHARKS program, aimed at reducing the cost of energy. We will observe performance of this system for the first time operating in open water at the Shapinsay Sound test site. This promises to be a truly exciting moment for the Aquantis team as we prepare for deployment into the UK market.”