The DIRECT Multi-MW project’s main objective is to build, test and run for 24 months a Pilot tidal power plant rated 6 MW at flow speeds as low as 1.5 m/s (3 knots), for operational verification of full-scale Tidal Sails technology, providing invaluable learnings about the performance, reliability, availability, maintainability and survivability of this cost-effective, innovative sail-based solution, in development more than a decade.
Another essential project objective is to prove the lowest environmental impact and footprint, achieved by fully-recyclable components. The First-of-a-Kind plant has 500 extruded-aluminium sails attached to 400m wire-rope loops across Kvalsundet in Finnmark. Two drive stations are moored into the rock by special ropes arrangements, securely handling the demanding loads generated by the sails’ motions and the power in the current. A set of state-of-the-art sensors and advanced monitoring (of moorings, sails, wires, overall system) guarantees smooth operation including ramp-up / ramp-down under controlled conditions.
The plant will be connected to an existing 22kV grid hook-up point 50m ashore. The fully consented site, where Tidal Sails holds a permit from NVE to 2025, is where the world’s first grid-connected tidal turbine was tested (2003-11) by Hammerfest Strøm and Statoil. More than 10 years later, successors of this prototype still have not achieved the massive Capex and Opex reductions needed to fulfil the potential of tidal power.
By starting instead from a superior, innovative non-turbine concept, matured for more than a decade of diligent development with frequent sea testing, DIRECT Multi-MW now fills all the remaining gaps in technology readiness, marketability, financing and environmental issues that so far have hindered the industrialization of tidal-stream energy.
A full supply chain is engaged to take the demonstrated technology to market and unlock further cost-reduction, all based on the core innovation of sails.