The designer of any tidal stream device must first analyse the forces and moments, which have to be sustained by that device and next assess the effects of the local environment on the materials employed. From this data a suitable design solution must be produced within the overall constraint of economic viability. Tidal energy converters must be designed for ease and speed of installation with a high degree of modularity so that components can be serviced or changed out very quickly. There will be a requirement to repeatedly connect and disconnect flexible, high voltage submarine cables without risk of damage to cables during installation and operation of the device. In this respect, moorings are an important feature of the marine device. The methods of mooring and performing maintenance incorporated in this design can contribute significantly to the overall cost of the project.
Key ChallengesThe key challenges for any such design are installability and operability:
Installability - The ability to develop and effectively deploy cost effective moorings and anchorages.
Operability - Understanding biofouling and interaction with the marine environment while keeping the level of maintenance required in operating the system to a minimum.
Both of these challenges have environmental operating conditions as their common denominator. The marine environment is an extremely challenging theatre of operation not least due to the following: