Tidal energy conversion presents a complex engineering challenge: to produce affordable, competitive energy in one of the most challenging natural environments on Earth.
In the highly energetic tidal currents, access for maintenance is expensive, high risk and so costly that it may be a "showstopper" for large-scale deployment of the many promising technologies currently being developed in Europe and elsewhere. The TidalSense system being demonstrated in the project is addressing part of this challenge by using long range ultrasonic technology (LRUT) to provide remote structural health monitoring (SHM) of tidal energy converter structures at realistic challenging conditions.
The workplan addresses key aspects of demonstrating the new monitoring system on the critical mooring components as well as on the tidal-energy-capturing structures (such as rotor blades), made of composite materials. However, when commercialised, the system is expected to ultimately be extended to monitor most significant parts of a tidal power machine.
The TidalSense Demo project is a Demonstration Action under the FP7 "Capacities" programme with Grant Agreement no. 286989. This EU programme is managed by the Research Executive Agency REA in Brussels, on behalf of the European Commission, see http://ec.europa.eu/research/rea/FP7/2007_2013