Solutions2018-06-04T08:05:07+00:00

Discover the next generation of renewables:

In this transition from fossil-fueled to renewable energy, ‘ocean energy’ is playing an ever bigger role. This form of energy is not only renewable, it is also reliable (water power is always, or almost always present) en predictable. Next to these essential characteristics, the various developments worldwide make large-scale and commercial roll-out of ocean energy possible.

Offshore tidal energy

The world’s seas and oceans offer the potential to generate a vast amount of energy. Current projects focus on placing free-stream turbines in high speed tidal races, mainly between two nearby shores. Examples can be found on the Atlantic coastline of the UK, France and Canada. 

The difficult conditions in which offshore projects operate make them expensive. Service vessels and limited time windows in which to carry out work drive up the operational costs. Because of this, it is crucial that the turbines employed are robust and require little regular maintenance. The good news is that with accumulated experience and new technologies and solutions, we are getting there.

BT Projects has the practical maritime expertise required to develop offshore tidal energy projects. Our experience includes conducting technology and site surveys, verifying and validating potential technologies, developing reliable feasibility studies (including dependable risk assessments) and creating fully financed business cases.

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Blue Barriers

A Blue Barrier combines the technology of a storm surge barrier with that of a tidal array. Energy-wise, the civil structure of a Blue Barrier channels the water to the turbines and ensures the full use of the available tidal flows. Alongside conventional, river-based hydropower and free-stream offshore tidal energy, the Blue Barrier is a third type of hydrokinetic energy system.

The characteristics of Blue Barrier energy are comparable with hydropower because of the forced nature of the flow, the decay of water and the onshore location. At the same time, it is tidal energy, with a very limited decay (up to 15 metres – and in the Netherlands limited to approximately only 4 metres) and the high impact of salt water.

These divergent characteristics mean that Blue Barrier turbines must differ from their free-flow tidal offshore cousins. The greater available space and lower water speeds in open sea allows tidal turbines to be much larger at the same power setting.

Despite this, Blue Barriers in the Netherlands, and in delta areas worldwide, can be profitable even when the available head is very low – up to 4 metres in the case of the Netherlands. Additionally, Blue Barriers have little impact on the environment. They are generally fish friendly and don’t require dams and reservoirs upstream or create dry areas downstream.

River energy

River energy is the oldest and most prevalent renewable energy and takes the form of river dams and traditional and modern watermills. But these conventional systems have a negative ecological impact: the ‘fish friendliness’ of the turbines does not meet present-day requirements, while the environmental impact caused by reservoirs upstream and dry areas downstream is also now considered too high.

Modern turbines and systems can meet today’s environmental and ecological requirements, however. This opens the way to creating new river energy developments. BT Projects has experience in helping technology innovators and communities develop profitable, environmentally sustainable river energy projects, based on our know-how and partner network.

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Technology test centers

The market for ocean energy is developing rapidly, which is in turn creating a global demand for facilities to test these technologies under real-life conditions. Despite this growing interest, we haven’t yet reached the tipping point at which the major test institutes are prepared to invest in this still-to-be-proven market.

BT Projects believes in the potential of ocean energy. As a company, we are drawing on our extensive experience in ocean energy technology to fill this gap in the technology development pipeline. Our lead test facility is Tidal Technology Center that we are developing at Grevelingendam, in the southwest of the Netherlands. Forming part of the world famous Delta Works, when completed the centre will provide a testing facility for turbine technologies and a demonstrator for Blue Barrier technologies for delta areas.

Solar energy innovation

Photovoltaic or PV solar energy is being increasingly rolled out at scale, with the number of projects in the Netherlands growing almost daily. They range from small, household-level projects to larger ones involving some form of co-operative model, and the current Dutch tax regime ensures PV technology can already be made profitable.

Elsewhere, and in southern and tropical countries especially, PV projects have already surpassed the 100 MW scale. These projects have an extremely low levelized cost of execution (LCOE) of approximately $3 per kWh. These technologies have been developed to their maximum potential and are likely to see only marginal optimisation in the future.

That said, there are new, ‘disruptive’ technologies being developed within the solar energy sector. As is the case with innovative wave and tidal energy, BT Projects can be a reliable partner in the development to commercialisation of these new solar energy technologies. If you have a proposition, we would love to hear it.

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New wind energy concepts

Current wind energy technologies are proven and commercially competitive with fossil-based energy systems. One downside is the perceived unsightliness of land and near-shore wind farms, and the resistance this stirs up among local communities. BT Projects respects these feelings and we are eager to create and support solutions that are acceptable to everyone, whether based on new or proven technologies. If you have an idea, do get in touch.

Energy storage

Managing energy imbalances has always been a challenge for grid operators, but the advent of wind and solar renewables and even small-scale, household-based energy suppliers makes it even harder. Having large power stations run at less than maximum capacity is inefficient, and this inefficiency grows as the types and sources of renewable energy grows.

Driven by this, we are now reaching the point where energy storage is becoming an interesting proposition, both financially and emissions-wise. Energy storage developments have already grown tremendously in number and size, and solutions based on batteries, water buffering, flywheels, Power2Gas and Power2Liquids are in development.

BT Projects is technology-neutral and has expertise in development strategy that can help a technology reach the commercial phase. As well as supporting tidal energy developments, our Tidal Technology Center will host large-scale energy storage demonstrations. We can provide our expertise at other locations and for other, non-tidal, energy storage projects.

Would you like to know more about our approach?

Contact us for more information about our services and ambitions

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