NEMMO – Next Evolution in Materials and Models for Ocean energy
The DCU Water Institute in partnership with the Advanced Processing Technology Centre has joined a consortium of 12 Small and Medium Enterprises, Research Institutes and Professional Associations from across Europe and Israel to develop the next generation of tidal turbine blades. The 42 month project was awarded €5M from the EU H2020 framework programme under its Societal Challenge ”Secure, clean and efficient energy” to make tidal energy competitive. The consortium will integrate novel technologies, materials and processes combining expertise in biomimetic surface texturing, biofouling, composite materials, and hydrodynamic modelling and testing to tackle the hugely challenging conditions faced by marine energy systems. Ambitious targets have been set to drive down capital expenditures, operation and maintenance costs due to cavitation wear, bio-fouling and ageing and enhance hydrodynamic performance. Testing will cover hydrodynamic assessment of cavitation and performance at medium scale under controlled lab and real sea conditions. Novel mechanical testing procedures for composite blades will be developed and applied to ensure realistic assessment of the blade’s response to representative loads. Full operational scale testing will also be performed on the real scale demonstrator owned by the tidal energy partner company, Magallanes Renovables. The contribution by DCU research teams will focus on the design, assessment and integration of bio-inspired surface texturing which will be optimised to control the colonisation of blade surface by biofouling organisms. Achieving effective anti-fouling properties is critical to guarantee good performance over the lifetime of the turbine. Marine growth could otherwise very quickly deteriorate the ability of the turbine to extract energy from the tidal stream as well as its ability to survive extreme weather events.