Marine energy moves forward

The Carbon Trust has announced funding for new projects to accelerate marine energy development


The Carbon Trust has announced funding for a series of new projects as part of a £3.5m programme to accelerate marine energy development and cement the UK’s lead in renewable marine power.



The funding is part of the Marine Energy Accelerator (MEA) – the Carbon Trust’s initiative to accelerate the commercialisation of marine energy technology – a sector to which it has committed £6.5m during the last four years. According to the Carbon Trust, cost is the key issue currently preventing marine from being competitive with other energy generation sources and the MEA aims to reduce cost by working in three key areas.



Installation, operation and maintenance of marine devices is one of these areas and the Carbon Trust said it will be working with three of the leading existing device manufacturers – AWS Ocean Energy, Hammerfest Strom and Ocean Power Technologies – to drive down the costs of these activities.



The MEA is also accelerating the development of new marine device concepts that have the potential to deliver breakthrough reductions in the cost of energy. Following a competition launched earlier this year, the Carbon Trust is also announced that it will be working with Checkmate group and Minesto on projects to develop two novel devices which represent the next generation of marine renewable energy.



The Checkmate device, called Anaconda, uses a giant submersible rubber tube to capture the power of the waves. Minesto’s Deep Green tidal device concept is reportedly able to increase the relative flow of tidal stream currents through a conventional turbine, which creates more electrical energy than is otherwise possible.



The third area of the MEA’s focus is cost reduction of component technologies that are common to a range of marine energy devices. The Carbon Trust is currently examining proposals in the areas of moorings and power take-off systems with the aim of announcing lead projects in November.



‘We are leading the world in the development of marine energy and the UK is a hotbed of innovation for these key technologies,’ said Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust. ‘We have the potential to deliver up to 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs from marine energy and there are already a number of exciting technologies in development. To make this potential a commercial reality, marine needs sustained additional funding to accelerate its breakthrough into the mainstream of energy generation sources.’



‘In just over 20 years wind energy has grown from technology uncertainty into a multinational industry that, in Denmark alone, employs 20,000 people and is worth over £2bn in annual export revenue,’ added Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of BWEA. ‘Given the industrial foundation we have here in the UK, and our offshore resource base, it would be utter folly not to capitalise on the similar opportunity wave and tidal stream presents us with today.’


Earlier this month, the Carbon Trust announced funding for another marine technology company, Embley Energy, through its applied research scheme. The Bristol-based firm is developing a new technology that uses floating concrete to harness the power of the waves.