The following is a press release from the Technology Strategy Board.
More than 35 British businesses and universities have been offered support worth £7 million to help them to develop the wave and tidal energy technologies of the future.
The investment has been allocated through a collaborative research and development funding competition designed to support innovation that will lead to the cost effective exploitation of UK and global wave and tidal stream resources.
The nine research and development projects will focus on the twin aims of driving down the cost of energy while improving the reliability and performance of wave and tidal stream energy devices. Some of the projects will look to enhance the performance of existing devices while others aim to develop novel, breakthrough concepts.
Research and development to be undertaken through this funding ranges from work to maximise the reliability and performance of tidal turbine blades and to advance the performance of wave energy technology through to the development of new devices for use in deep water locations. The Technology Strategy Board is investing £6.6m in the nine projects while the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is contributing £400,000.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry, visiting Marine Current Turbines' SeaGen project in Northern Ireland today, said:
"As an island, the UK is surrounded by a massive energy resource. Wave and tidal stream technologies have the potential to supply millions of homes with low carbon energy - reducing our dependency on foreign energy imports and cutting dangerous greenhouse gas emissions. The UK has world-class engineering and offshore expertise and skills. These nine projects will drive forward the development of these technologies. They will help produce the innovations needed to bring down costs of marine energy, and improve performance to allow marine technologies to take their rightful place as part of a secure, low carbon system in the future."
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said:
"By 2050 we are going to have very different energy needs than we have today and we will be getting our energy from different sources. The UK is well placed to exploit wave and tidal stream energy resources with all of the coast line that we have, and it is expected this kind of technology will be an important part of the renewable energy mix needed in the future.
"We still need to prove which technological solutions will most successfully harness marine energy and we need to reduce the cost of the energy produced to make the technology competitive with other renewable energy solutions. So there are a range of technological challenges to address."
The nine projects funded by the Technology Strategy Board are led by Aquamarine Power Ltd, Aviation Enterprises Ltd, AWS Ocean Energy Ltd, Fred Olsen Ltd, Green-Tide Turbines Ltd, Marine Current Turbines Ltd, Offshore Wave Energy Ltd, Small Hydro Company Ltd and Tidal Generation Ltd
This competition is designed to complement the Carbon Trust's Marine Renewable Proving Fund. Together, these activities aim to advance wave and tidal stream technologies along the innovation chain in a concerted effort to grow business opportunities and achieve the government's renewable energy targets.
A second £3m Technology Strategy Board funding competition, due to open in September, focuses on supporting the deployment of pre-commercial full scale devices installed and operating in the sea. The competition will focus on monitoring the performance of devices and ensuring that they are reliable and can be installed and maintained effectively. This is specifically aimed at businesses that are already working towards full scale deployment of their technology.
Visit the Technology Strategy Board for more information