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BlueTEC operation brings successful results

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BlueTEC in operation

BlueTEC in operation

Floating tidal energy platform prepares to double capacity 

The BlueTEC Texel Tidal partnership is proud to announce that the first months of operating the BlueTEC tidal energy platform have been a success. With every tidal flow, the platform supplies electricity into the Dutch national grid. The project partners are now planning the installation of a second, larger turbine.

“Getting the platform from the drawing board to a grid-connected operating reality in just 6 months is amazing, ” says Allard van Hoeken, Head of New Energy at Bluewater Energy Services and recent recipient of the first Prince Friso Engineers Award. “The electricity production is conform expectations, the mooring loads are lower than expected and the stability is better than expected. It is a great success.”

Shortly after its launch this summer the platform’s new moorings passed their first serious tests with flying colours as two large storms passed over the area.

With the platform up and running smoothly, the project partners are now looking forward to the next step in its development. “We will install the next turbine – a Tocardo T2 – before the winter. This will double the platform’s capacity, ” says Mr Van Hoeken. “A few months after that we will install a second T2 turbine. With two turbines working simultaneously this will double the capacity once again to reach the 400-500 kW mark. This means a proven solution is available on the market. In the meantime we will proceed to even larger units of 2.5 MW each ”

“These units can supply clean energy to islands and remote locations below the cost of diesel generators. In addition, what the industry may only be starting to realise, is that they also pave the way towards large, utility-scale tidal farms. Starting with 500 kW units means using existing technology and a small grid setup, hence keeping the required investment and associated risks to a minimum. In the following step, our 2.5 MW units will be used for full development, ” he says.

The BlueTEC platform serves as a demonstrator model. The platform’s ease of maintenance illustrates the advantages of a floating system perfectly: “It has been very easy to solve any issues we came across, ” informs Mr Van Hoeken. “We can reach the platform with a small boat, open the watertight door and enter the electronics room, fix and replace something and be back on land an hour later.”

Cooperative partners

The list of project partners includes Bluewater, Damen Shipyards Group, Niron Staal, Van Oord, Acta Marine, Vryhof Anchors, TKF, Tocardo, Schottel Hydro, NIOZ, Tidal Testing Centre, Nylacast and the Port of Den Helder. Talking about the close cooperation within the project partnership, Mr Van Hoeken’s enthusiasm is evident: “We are a group of great, strong and motivated partners, ” he says. “Where everyone does their best to make it succeed – applying their skills to realise a new way of harnessing clean power.” Further support came from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Waddenfonds programme, in addition to EU Life funding during the developmental phase.

Time for celebration

To celebrate the milestone moment of first electricity generation, the Texel Tidal Project partners are holding an open reception at the forthcoming Offshore Energy Exhibition at the Amsterdam RAI, the Netherlands. This will be an opportunity to meet the various partners and to learn more about the project. The reception is to be held on Tuesday 13 October from 16.00 to 18.00 at the Damen and TKF exhibition booths (#9.023 & #9.017). On Wednesday 14 October, the project results will be presented at the special Marine Energy event from 12.30 – 18.00.

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ABOUT THE BLUETEC PARTNERS

Bluewater Energy Services

Bluewater’s core business is to design, deliver and operate Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) systems and Single Point Mooring (SPM) systems. Bluewater’s New Energy department is the initiator and leading partner in the development of the BlueTEC Texel Tidal Project using the skills and experience of the core business.

“Based on our offshore experience, floating platforms offer a breakthrough in tidal energy” says Bluewater’s Head of New Energy, Allard van Hoeken. “The worldwide growth potential for tidal energy is massive. While we starting with small platforms of 200 KW and 500 kW, eventually we eventually will build, own and operate tidal farms that produce as much as 500 MW using 2, 5 MW BlueTEC units.”

Allard van Hoeken recently received the first Prince Friso Engineers Award, for his dedication to make with his team the transition from the traditional offshore industry to renewables.

Damen Shipyards Group

Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 ship- and repair yards, employing 9, 000 people worldwide. Damen has built more than 5, 000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers approximately 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide.

Damen’s role in the Texel tidal energy platform stems from its focus on standardisation and modular con-struction which leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost of ownership’, high resale value and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen products are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.

“The Texel tidal platform consists of a lot of shipbuilding components and Damen has all the disciplines necessary to put that all together, ” says Damen Sales Manager Jelle Meindertsma. “In the future, our series construction will really come to the fore when dealing with tidal energy generation ‘farms’ operating 20 or 30 turbine platforms. There is a lot of potential in the tidal energy market – this demonstration platform is just the beginning.”

Van Oord

Van Oord is a leading contractor for dredging, marine engineering and offshore energy projects (oil, gas and wind).. The company operates worldwide in more than fifty countries. The construction of significant projects such as Palm Island Dubai, Maasvlakte 2 or the Gemini wind farm are examples of our innovative solutions to marine challenges.

Because of the high current South of the Island Texel, installation of the platform and all of its components has been a challenge. Van Oord contributed with its expert knowledge and experience in the offshore industry to manage the installation of the mooring system, cable and platform in these challenging conditions.

Rick van Vliet, Van Oord’s Project Manager: “The Texel Tidal Project contributes to Van Oord’s sustainability profile and provides Van Oord with the opportunity to be part of a group of pioneering companies in the Renewable Energy industry.”

TKF

Since its establishment in 1930, TKF has developed from a cable producer to a leading supplier of con-nectivity solutions located in the Netherlands. A broad range of cables, systems and services enables us to provide our customers worldwide with safe and reliable power and data connections for Telecom, Build-ing and Industrial markets. Being part of the technology company TKH Group NV, TKF has access to breakthrough solutions, concepts and technologies.

TKF provided the Texel Tidal project with the complete scope of cable and connectivity solutions for the energy transmission from the platform towards the terminations on the mainland. TKF developed the sub-sea cable, including fiber-optics for communication and data control, the hang-off and bending restrictors and provided the engineering, delivering, installation and assembly of the all the components. From the generator towards linking the network, TKF provided the complete connection.

Laurens Pots from TKF: “This project was of great interest for us because of the expansion of our subsea capabilities with the development of our new subsea plant. Within this project we have developed new offshore competences that we can expand towards our subsea activities in, amongst others, the renewable energy market.”

Acta Marine

Acta Marine is a worldwide market leader in the operation of coastal and shallow draft workboats. Our company was established in 1970 and today we own and operate over fifty different vessels, which are used for coastal water projects for a large variety of clients. Acta Marine is the innovator of DP Multicats and specializes in cable and pipeline remedial burial projects in coastal and shallow waters. These spe-cialties enable us to offer the best and most effective solutions to our clients in the Dredging & Marine Construction, Oil & Gas and Offshore Wind industry.

Ruben de Vries, Acta Marine Project Manager: “The Dutch Wadden Sea, goes back to the core of our business i.e., operating responsibly in shallow water projects with innovative vessel solutions. The Texel tidal project covers just all of these same core values and Acta Marine is pleased to render its services during the installation phase of the project.”

Tocardo

Tocardo is a leader in tidal energy, designing and producing tidal and free-flow water turbines and exporting them worldwide. With 1 turbine installed at BlueTEC Texel and 5 turbines installed in the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, Tocardo shows the world what tidal energy is all about: providing a clean and reliable source of energy that could fulfil 10-20% of the world’s electricity needs.

The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier is the flagship of the world-renowned Delta Works series of dams and storm surge barriers, designed to protect the Netherlands from flooding from the North Sea. The location will now be a combination of water defenses and hydroelectric power. “This is the largest tidal energy project in the Netherlands as well as the world’s largest commercial tidal installation of five turbines in an array. This project marks an important step in the development of tidal energy. Tocardo is said to be among the top three turbine manufacturers globally, with more than 9 turbines installed in 2015 and plans to export 80% of their product by next year”.

Tocardo delivers the initial T1 turbine and later in 2015 a T2 turbine for the BlueTEC Texel Tidal project.

Tocardo CEO Hans van Breugel: “We are very pleased with the fruitful cooperation with all the partners and look forward to a successful project and commercial roll-out of the BlueTEC concept. For Tocardo it’s an important milestone as it’s our first floating offshore project.”

Schottel Hydro

SCHOTTEL HYDRO offers its services in three segments: hydrokinetic turbines, semi-submerged plat-forms and components, such as turbine hubs and drives. SCHOTTEL HYDRO includes also the Canadian company Black Rock Tidal Power (BRTP) and will install 2, 6 MW in 2016/17 in Fundy Bay. A large network of well-known SCHOTTEL sales and service subsidiary’s  ensures a worldwide support.

In 2016 The BlueTEC Texel platform will be equipped with four SCHOTTEL Instream Turbines (SIT), producing grid-ready electric power. The SIT will be installed on an installation so it will produce energy in two directions. The SCHOTTEL Instream Turbine (SIT) is a lightweight and yet robust hydrokinetic turbine. While the Texel platform is aimed at remote locations to power villages, cooling facilities, lighting etc. The SIT is relative light, and therefor easier to handle in  remote areas.

Global Maritime Vryhof Global Maritime Vryhof provides High Holding Power Anchors, engineered products and services to the offshore Marine Renewable Energy and Oil & Gas Industry and can be described as the market leader in mooring solutions. Global Maritime Vryhof has delivered more than 10, 000 drag anchors globally since its inception. Global Maritime Vryhof is proud to be part of the Texel Tidal Energy Project and have the possibility of transferring its Oil & Gas field knowledge to the BlueTEC modular tidal energy device. The main target was to design the smallest suitable anchors to maintain the tidal device in place – keeping it as efficient as possible in order to keep the costs to a minimum. “With Global Maritime Vryhof’s suite of anchoring solutions we can moor this tidal energy platform anywhere in the world, ” says Global Maritime Vryhof Projects Director Senol Ozmutlu.

Royal NIOZ

NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is the national oceanographic institute and is one of the institutes of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The mission of Royal NIOZ is to gain and spread scientific knowledge on estuaries, coastal seas and oceans for a better understanding and a sustainable management of our planet.

The role of Royal NIOZ in the Texel Tidal energy project is primarily to perform research into the effects of the platform and turbine on various abiotic factors such as tidal currents, suspended sediment concentra-tion and bathymetry around the platform, using Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers mounted beneath the platform and the NIOZ research vessels RV Navicula and RV Stern. In addition, Royal NIOZ will also analyse information about the wave structure. The Bluetec tidal energy platform is located in the direct vicinity of the main office.

“We are proud to be involved with such a forward-thinking energy generation project, ” comments NIOZ director professor Henk Brinkhuis. “The comprehensive data set that we are collecting will be invaluable for future development of worldwide tidal energy programmes.”

Nylacast

Nylacast is a world leader in the design and manufacture of Polymers and Engineered Solutions to the Marine, Gas, Oil and Offshore sectors. Founded and based in Leicester in 1969, Nylacast provides value-added solutions to its partners and innovative technology with significant technical expertise in the engi-neered polymers market and offers a unique total solution proposition in the market place. This end-to-end service comprises material selection, design and engineering consultation, advanced machining, applica-tion testing and service inspection.

Nylacast was invited to form part of the collaboration supplying a ‘trumpet’, which acts as a liner within the mooring system. The Nylacast Liner works to effectively improve the mooring systems due to its high load bearing capability and low friction characteristics.

Tan Ali Sales and Marketing Director: “Nylacast was involved at an early stage in the design and concept of the project and delivered a highly innovative technical solution. Our extensive knowledge of the marine environment and proven track record in our materials technology ensured that our product supported this innovative technology in tidal energy.”

TTC Tidal Testing Centre

Tidal Testing Centre is an international test facility for marine energy systems. It provides high-speed open water facilities in two sluice gates of the Afsluitdijk in the Dutch Wadden Sea. For the Texel Tidal Energy project, TTC managed the permit process for a new offshore site near the island of Texel. In just under 6 months all permits were obtained.

TTC liaised with all stakeholders about the responsibility and liabilities for operating at such a site. “We have an easily accessible, grid-connected offshore test site at just over an hours drive from Schiphol. We expect to attract many international developers to come and test here in the future, ” says Peter Scheijgrond, Infrastructure Manager at TTC.

Niron Staal

Niron Staal Amsterdam B.V. is a specialised steel construction and machining company. We are located in the harbour of Amsterdam – thus guaranteeing deep-water access to the North Sea and efficient flight options via Schiphol Airport. The combination of steel construction and machining allows us to operate on large-scale projects such as heavy construction work as well as small-scale contracts that involve accurate machining at extremely low tolerances. Furthermore, we take on everything in between – hence our motto: ‘Experience the perfection’.

The Bluetec Platform was built at Niron Staal in a very short time thanks to our ‘EngineeringSmartScan’, which allowed us to cooperate with engineers from Bluewater and Damen at an early stage. Before and after the fabrication stage, we supervised the construction in order to minimise the production costs and to have the fastest turnaround time.

Niron Staal General Manager Harco Groen: “This platform is an important project for our machine shop and steel construction division as its components are large and complex. From the outside, the BlueTEC platform looks like a simple construction, but inside it is full of innovation and high-tech parts. This project is our gateway to tidal energy.”

Port of Den Helder

For more than thirty years, operations and maintenance for the offshore sector have been based in Den Helder. On both a national and international scale, Port of Den Helder occupies an important position as the offshore supply base from which, on a daily basis, 135 production platforms and various drilling rigs in the Dutch sector of the North Sea receive deliveries of supplies and replacement crew members. Not only is it the port with the shortest sailing times to the largest number of platforms on the Continental Shelf, but it is also the base of operations delivering optimum service to the international offshore industry.

Port of Den Helder aims to further expand and underpin this solid position over the next few years for both the oil and gas industry, and for the offshore energy sector in the broadest sense. Ground-breaking developments in the field of technology and research are resulting in a massive upsurge in market demand to which the seaport has so far always come up with a suitable response, in the form of new (ISPS-certified) and well-sheltered quaysides, a port that operates 24/7 and delivers optimum service provision thanks to central logistics and rapid vessel handling, and with short sailing times to the Continental Shelf, all backed up by Den Helder Airport just a stone’s throw away, and excellent hinterland connections from the open sea via road, inland shipping and rail.

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