“Niche tidal markets are mainly remote, community based or serve an industrial load. They represent the high value end of the market where tidal energy can compete on cost with the benefit of being a zero CO2 solution”
It has become clear over recent years that the initial focus for tidal energy of supplying grid connected energy in existing developed markets is going to be extremely challenging, given this situation with grid supplied electricity markets. Therefore the role of niche, off-grid, new-grid and non-electrical, markets has become more interesting to technology developers, project developers and to investors.
Targeted Niche Markets
QED Naval’s focus is to establish itself as a solution provider in the following niche markets.
Often the only option for island communities is to import diesel to provide power to communities and support industrial loads. This is not only very expensive but comes at a very high CO2 cost given the truck and marine fuels used to get the duel oil there. It also has an impact on the community as well.
Luxury and Remote Tourism
Remote hotels after have a backup grid supply in the form of a diesel generator which are very expensive to run. Given the importance of marketing to this industry it is important that they consider renewable energy as part of the sustainable and ecological credentials. However, wind and solar often don’t provide a solution given the competition for land and the price of acquiring or the space is not available. Therefore many hotels are considering moving offshore for their renewable energy power supply.
Offshore fish and aquaculture production requires significant amounts of power for their feeding, cleaning and lighting systems. The fish cages are often located close to tidal streams to provide a constant flow of water through the cages to keep the fish healthy and free of lice.
Marine transport is one of the largest net contributors to CO2 emissions given that over 90% of global trade is from shipping. Regulations are tightening regarding burning heavy oil and diesel. New hybrid fuel cell ferries and dual fuel ships are being designed but require bunkering of hydrogen which is expensive to produce, store and transport. Tidal energy plants can provide local dispensing of hydrogen.
With the global temperatures rising at an unprecedented rate, the tropical and equitorial regions are suffering from droughts and more load is being put on large desalination plants. These are typically in Gulf and Sub-Saharan African states which are large oil and gas producers and are very large CO2 generators. De-carbonising this industry would have a large impact on CO2 levels. However, these regions are not known as high tidal areas but they do have potential run of river markets which makes for a good fit for easily deployed marine energy solutions to drive systems to create potable water from seawater.
Other Niche Markets
Other Niche Markets that have also been considered including:
- Oil and Gas Subsea– powering of offshore oil and gas platforms
- Military and Surveillance – remote base power, autonomous surveillance and sensing
- Oceanography Services – current profiling, wave measurement, temperature, salinity
- Hydrography – bathymetric and geophysical surveys
- Subsea Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) – Powering of ROVs for subsea applications e.g. pipeline inspection, salvage assessment, search and recovery, mine inspection, cable laying, tools for securing moorings
- Remote Energy – Storage and data centres
Thanks to Scottish Enterprise supporting the market research conducted by Aquatera which was focused around niche markets for Subhub.