Sian Wilson of Black & Veatch explains the group’s expertise and capabilities
Black and Veatch (B&V) has been involved in the exciting arena of wave and tidal technologies since 1975.
We have a strong delivery focus and our deliverables are of the highest quality. We bring a range of proven methodologies and tools to enable success, but at the same time are creative and pragmatic, tailoring our approach to each client circumstance, and can therefore integrate our client’s ways of working with our own.
Using our innovation, value engineering, and bespoke key parameter optimisation programmes, we work with technology developers to prioritise areas for design development in order to increase performance and decrease costs, and with project developers to develop project sites. Our expertise and capabilities include:
• Resource assessment
• Concept development
• Design and technology
• Concept and detailed design of prototypes
• Cost-of-energy optimisation
• Due diligence
• Programme management
B&V has acted as ‘owner’s engineer’ for various marine and other large-scale renewable energy project developments. For example, we provided technical assistance to the Carbon Trust for the Marine Renewables Proving Fund. We have worked with wave and tidal stream developers at varying stages of their development, some at very early concept stage and right through to those who are testing full-scale devices and analysing initial sets of data. A B&V staff member is one of the two UK experts for the IEC’s ‘Design’ Technical Specification.
In addition to having expertise in marine energy converter (MEC) development, B&V has substantial knowledge in resource assessment, for both tidal current and tidal range sites. A B&V staff member is leading the development of the IEC’s ‘Tidal Resource’ Technical Specification.
The remainder of this article discusses our latest, and very exciting, contract for a tidal resource modelling project - which involves developing a UK Continental Shelf Model. The project, commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), will improve understanding of the possible interactions between tidal (current and range) developments as they are deployed between now and 2050. We are working with HR Wallingford (HRW) and the University of Edinburgh (UoE) to deliver this project.
The £450,000 project was announced in October 2011 by the ETI, a public-private partnership between global industries - BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell - and the UK government to bring together projects and partnerships that accelerate the development of affordable, lean and secure technologies that will help the UK meet its legally binding 2050 climate change targets.
Dr David Clarke, chief executive of the ETI, explains: “There is potential for more of the UK’s tidal resources to be used to generate energy in the future from a combination of tidal stream and tidal range technologies.
“If this is to happen we need a greater understanding of the impact of energy extraction at various potential sites around the UK.
“This project will significantly increase the understanding of the effects of different interacting tidal energy schemes in UK waters, giving the marine industry the evidence and knowledge it needs to make future investment decisions.”
HRW has a vast experience of numerical modelling of free surface waters using TELEMAC and has been instrumental in its continued development. The TELEMAC system (used for this project) is a state-of-the-art free surface flow suite of solvers developed by a kernel of European organisations including HR Wallingford and other partners such as EDF and the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute of Germany. HRW has very significant experience of modelling tidal resources and environmental impacts of tidal schemes in locations around the UK, including Morecambe Bay, Northern Ireland, Orkney, Rhyl, Scapa Flow, Anglesey and the Severn Estuary.
UoE is one of the largest and most successful universities in the UK with an international reputation as a centre of academic and research excellence. The Institute for Energy Systems (IES) is one of five multi-disciplinary research groupings within the School of Engineering at the University. IES has been at the forefront of renewable and marine energy conversion research for over 35 years since the original pioneering work of Stephen Salter.
Access to the model will eventually be available through a web-based access tool and will be useful for project development.
There is increasing emphasis on understanding the impact of energy extraction from the tidal resource, in order to provide knowledge about the wider impacts potential projects could have.
The recent announcement to increase tidal current incentives to 5 ROCs has also increased the emphasis on the potential for tidal current developments and therefore consideration of how they could interact.
The project will develop models of the whole UK Continental shelf that will be used to investigate how energy extraction at one site may affect the energy available elsewhere. A wide range of possible future tidal stream and tidal range sites, with differing technology possibilities, will be represented in the models.
The project will identify how the interactions between different sites around the UK combine to form an overall effect, and what constraints these interactions will place on the design, development and location of future systems.
Andy Baldock, leader of Black & Veatch’s global marine energy team, says: “Black & Veatch is very pleased to be leading this important work, which draws heavily on our previous modelling of the key performance, cost and environmental issues surrounding tidal range and tidal stream projects and their associated technologies. We are particularly pleased to be continuing our existing relationships with HR Wallingford and University of Edinburgh, with whom we have worked on many projects over many years.”
The hydrodynamic models will be made available after the project through a service provided to the wider marine industry. These models will be c. 100 times more spatially resolved than the existing Marine Energy Atlas data in the areas of interest, and, importantly, will be able to accept user-driven development scenarios as well as providing the baseline data (the Marine Energy Atlas only provides baseline data).
This important ETI project will be completed in Q3 of 2012.
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