Project: Qualification of sail-based power plant for production of electricity from the renewable energy of tidal streams

This project will qualify and enable the market introduction of a radical new technology for producing electricity from tidal streams for the production of electricity. a renewable source that until today has not been possible to exploit due to lack of applicable technologies for its extraction._x000D__x000D_The Q*SAIL project is led by an ambitious research SME holding worldwide rights to a unique new solution it has developed: The use of submerged sails for extracting the energy of tidal streams for power production. The sail-based power plant concept as conceived and patented by Tidal Sails AS has the potential to surpass other proposed technologies for extracting tidal stream energy, in terms of extraction efficiency, prospects for cost-efficient implementation, and environmental acceptability. The energy converter is a series of sails mounted on wires strung across the tidal stream at an angle which optimizes hydrodynamic lift. The tidal flow drives the sails back and forth between two stations in which the sails are parked and at one of which is installed the power conversion and electrical generator machinery._x000D__x000D_The Q-SAIL project aims to advance this novel sail based technology for tidal streams to the stage of being technically qualified and certified. This ambitions goal will be achieved through a structured programme of experimentation, modelling and design. The work will be performed at two different scales: (1.) a Pilot-Test Facility for experimenting with scaled-down prototypes and experimental models of the power plant, with wires of 20 m length and scaled-down sail area. The pilot test facility is placed in a natural small tidal stream exhibiting a representative and demanding flow behaviour. The second scale of experimentation (2.) is that of a large scale Demonstration Plant, with fully sized sails and spanning across a 200 m wide tidal stream. This plant will be equipped with an electricity generator and connected to the power grid and be used to collect relevant qualifying experience essential for proceeding to design commercial installations while it demonstrates the operation of a complete sail power plant. The scope of work in Q*SAIL also includes key pre-engineering steps towards designing and constructing the first commercial-size plant using the sail based technology , to be installed at a tidal stream site with commercial potential and put into operation within 2 years after completion of the present 3-year technology qualification project._x000D__x000D_Sail-based plants are expected to be superior to other solutions at many regular tidal stream sites because of the inherent advantages of the technology. Based on data available today, development of commercial sites with sail-based plants, when ready, could be several times as productive in terms of the amount of electricity generated, at a fraction of the cost of a development using other, mostly subsea turbine based technologies which are under development._x000D__x000D_Work in the project will be led by Tidal Sails AS, the research-intensive SME and systems integrator, with the world leader in aerial ropeway transport systems, Doppelmayr of Austria, as a P. This connection may appear surprising at first sight, but by examining the engineering challenges of transporting sails affixed to cables between two stations under water, the analogy to ski lifts and other aerial transport systems using pre-tensioned cables is striking. Doppelmayr thus, working closely with Tidal Sails who have gathered its own practical experience by working the small-scale pilot test facility will apply its know-how of ropeway machinery construction to the task of securing safe and reliable movement of the sails in the stations of the Demonstration Plant. Analysis and modelling work in support of the design and testing of the new power generating system will be led by the Group for Fluid Mechanics at Coventry University, whereas EnerOcean of Spain, also a research-intensive SME, will be in charge of selected tasks related to exploitation of the technology e.g. in the Iberian peninsula. Key innovation contributions will also come from sub-contracted industrial companies, each of which offers the best-in-class skills for delivering critical technology elements: Owens Corning in Belgium (sail composite materials), DSM Dyneema (Netherlands) for its high performance polymer rope, and Wärtsilä Automation (Finland/Norway) on the electronics and control systems. Working as an independent sub-contractor, certification body Det Norske Veritas (DnV) will monitor, validate and certify the technology in accordance with its well known standards. All Ps and subcontractors will collaborate to support the development effort by applying their theoretical knowledge but, most of all, practical engineering insight. The project will engage energy companies, community representatives and other potential customers for the new renewable power plants through a market interface._x000D__x000D__x000D_

Acronym Q-SAIL (Reference Number: 4409)
Duration 01/01/2009 - 01/09/2012
Project Topic Tidal streams contain much energy but have not yet been commercially exploited. A patented concept using underwater sails will be advanced to a state of qualified technology in 3 years, enabling commercialisation within 2 years thereafter.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO result of the project was the realization of a demonstrator with the following technical data: _x000D_- 40 sails in a triangle sytem with 7 m sides; height 2.5 m_x000D_- Weight 10 t, and_x000D_- 20 kW output at a tidal stream with 2 m/s _x000D_- force transmission element: chain
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 1

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH Partner Austria
4 EnerOcean s.l. Partner Spain
4 Tidal Sails AS Coordinator Norway
4 Coventry University Partner United Kingdom