A 200-kW prototype of the hydrokinetic Bluewater Tidal Energy Converter (BlueTEC) floating platform is scheduled for deployment in early 2015 to test harvesting energy from the Wadden Sea, near Texel Island in The Netherlands. If successful, testing the BlueTEC platform may provide a means to deliver tidal energy devices to remote locations worldwide.
“BlueTEC is an open-architecture floating support platform suitable for tidal turbines,” according to technology developer Bluewater Energy Services BV LLC. The company has partnered with Van Oord LLC and specialty shipbuilder Damen Group. All three companies are based in The Netherlands.
Researchers related to the project think people in places similar to islands in Indonesia, the Philippines or the Pacific may benefit from access to reliable, sustainable power. For its trial location, this will be the first time a floating tidal platform is used to generate electricity into the Dutch power grid.
BlueTEC is a modular barge that has been modified into a tidal power generation platform. Once the platform is in place, it will use new mooring line technology to secure it to the sea floor.
“This platform can be shipped and installed anywhere in the world, to provide clean electricity in remote areas and small islands, replacing expensive and polluting diesel generators” said Allard van Hoeken, head of the New Energy division at Bluewater Energy Services.
BlueTEC’s critical equipment components are located above the waterline in its ship-like structure. This, according to its designers, is a considerable break from conventional, bottom-founded designs in terms of its ability to be placed and access for maintenance.
All parties involved hope the 200-kW device will test well and lead to higher-capacity generating devices.
“This smaller test platform, while ready to use in remote locations, is also a stepping-stone for our larger, 2-MW platform development,” van Hoeken said.