Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 128

As expected, deploying the power plant turned
out to be a significant challenge. Working at
your desktop, it is almost impossible to foresee
how the power plant might be handled in the
unpredictable offshore environment, with
winds, waves and tidal currents wreaking havoc
in all directions. Initially, whole months were
spent on constantly altering under-dimensioned
mechanical components and searching for
electrical insulation faults without gaining any
useful test results. The cold, windy and wet
working environment exhausted the team, and
the situation urged for alternative solutions.
The team took time out and gathered to
develop a plan. This all resulted in a test setup
being physically turned upside down – with the
power plant attached to a floating platform
instead of the seabed. The new setup allowed
for greater control and made it easier to access
all subsystems. In addition, all mechanical and
electrical components were thoroughly
examined with great care. When the kite was
re-launched and submerged in Strangford
Lough, adrenaline was high among all 25
Minesto employees as they watched it
disappear beneath the surface. As soon as the
kite started to make its first figure of eight,
steered by a person in the offshore control
room, they all knew that a successful launch
had been made.
he lush hills of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern
Ireland, are truly a place of magical scenery. Portaferry, a small
fishing village, is located one hour’s drive from Belfast and is
perhaps most famous today for being close to the location where
Game of Thrones
is filmed. In this idyllic fishing village,
struggling with a high unemployment rate and a diminishing population,
something new and prosperous is growing.
Looking out over the calm waters of Strangford Lough, one could hardly
believe that under the ocean surface electricity can be produced. In fact,
as the Sun starts to rise and another spring tide starts to take off,
pushing massive amounts of water through the narrows, the
‘underwater kite’ named Deep Green initiates its electricity production.
Due to its sheltered waters and good tidal conditions, Strangford Lough
has become a popular area for the testing of tidal power plants:
Siemens, SCHOTTEL and the UK’s Queen’s University Belfast are all
conducting their tests there.
Minesto’s Deep Green array is a tidal and ocean current power plant and
takes the shape of an underwater kite. It’s there that the similarity ends.
Deep Green can produce electricity from low velocity currents at a cost
lower than fossil fuels and nuclear power. As such, it has the potential to
change the world.
The Deep Green technology was invented by the inquisitive engineer
Magnus Landberg in 2001. Landberg was the manager of a wind turbine
project at Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab. The outcome was a
compact, efficient tidal power plant able to sweep large areas far more
efficiently than rotors on static structures. The design offered a decrease
in electricity generation costs.
Minesto spun off from Saab and has since pushed Deep Green towards
commercialisation with great focus on prototype testing in combination
with business development on literally all continents. Today, large public
and private investors, including the UK Government’s Department of
Energy and Climate Change, the Swedish Energy Agency and the EU,
are all backing the development of Deep Green.
Into the water
In autumn 2013, a marine power plant designed for low velocity currents
was, for the first time, targeted to produce electricity at sea. It was a
hectic period for the team at Minesto and an important and critical step
for Deep Green technology. Even though big challenges and valuable
insights had presented themselves before Deep Green was installed in
the water and started to produce electricity, the ocean trials provided
Minesto with even greater problems as well as invaluable insights.
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
The Deep Green sea
Late last year, renewable energy experts were excited when marine energy
technology company Minesto announced successful trials in producing electricity
from low velocity currents; CEO
Anders Jansson
provides an insight
Anders Jansson
Conceptual illustration
of the Deep Green array
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