Innovative integration engineering company Sustainable Marine Technologies (SMT) reveals plans for PLAT-O, a major new project designed to help enable tidal and ocean current marine energy to become a commercial reality.
The PLAT-O project will create a new common platform to carry a wide range of horizontal axis tidal energy devices, and dramatically cut the costs of deployment and maintenance access which are now recognised as the major hurdle to the industry’s future.
Unveiling the project on Sustainable Marine Technologies’ stand at All Energy 2011 Jason Hayman, Managing Director, revealed the company is well down the line with its Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the project, and is also in talks with potential development partners for PLAT-O.
Jason states: “We are very excited by the potential for PLAT-O as we believe that not only will it create a real step change in the costs of deployment and maintenance access, but also it has the flexibility and usability to become the industry standard as it will enable project developers to use the same platform for whichever device technology they choose.
“Other key benefits are that PLAT-O is a subsea buoyant moored platform which will enable it to be placed very efficiently in the water column, we will be able to access deep water sites which are not available to piled or gravity based devices, and it will handle uneven sea beds and any type of sea bed condition.
Jason Hayman continues: “We truly believe that PLAT-O will meet all the key requirements to become the industry platform which will solve the cost issues of deployment and maintenance and the flexibility to enable tidal and ocean current energy to become commercially viable for the first time.”
SMT plans to deploy a large scale prototype for ocean trials in 2014.
The basis of the PLAT-O technology is an array which can mount up to five devices providing a total capacity of up to 5 megawatts, with the power being exported by a single cable.
As the platform is towable it removes the need for heavy lift vessels, and so also removes the need to compete with oil, gas and offshore wind for the limited number of these costly vessels available.
Integrated buoyancy enables PLAT-O to achieve its position and achieve descent and ascent without the requirement for surface lifting, plus individual devices can be easily retrieved to the surface for access and removed from site and swapped out if required.
Source: SusMarTech, May 18, 2011.