Schottel merges tidal business into SME

Following the successful collaboration between Sustainable Marine Energy (SME), Schottel Hydro and Black Rock Tidal Power to develop and demonstrate the PLAT-I floating tidal energy system, Schottel has made a strategic decision to merge its tidal energy businesses into SME.

Schottel has transferred all its tidal energy assets, including UK subsidiary TidalStream Ltd and Canadian subsidiary Black Rock Tidal Power Inc (BRTP), to SME in return for equity, becoming SME’s largest shareholder. BRTP’s name has been changed to Sustainable Marine Energy (Canada) Ltd.

SME will be commercialising the tidal turbine technology developed by Schottel, in-conjunction with its platform and anchoring solutions, to offer an integrated solution to the market. SME will also be continuing the development of projects in Nova Scotia, Canada that will be used to prove up its products, including the 5MW berth at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) that was awarded to Schottel in 2014.

“Schottel has been active in developing tidal energy solutions since 2011. Following a comprehensive, strategic business and technology review, we believe that SME is best placed to deliver commercially viable tidal energy systems to the market,” Andreas Block, CEO of the Schottel Group commented. “The SME team has proven that they can deliver, and the PLAT-I deployment at Grand Passage will demonstrate that tidal energy is a viable option for coastal and island communities. Schottel is committed to developing environmentally responsible marine technologies including tidal energy and electric propulsion systems – we are also supplying propulsion systems for the first fully-electric ferries in Canada. We look forward to working with SME over the coming years to deliver innovative, robust and reliable solutions to customers worldwide.”

Jason Hayman, Managing Director of SME, added: “This is a very exciting time for SME, and this deal crystalizes the strong relationship that we have built with Schottel over the past five years, initially as a supplier and then as a development partner and investor. It is a massive vote of confidence in SME’s team, and we now have all the resources that we need to deliver a market-leading, integrated product to customers, along with a pipeline that enables the commercialisation and roll-out of our solutions. Schottel’s technical and financial support provides us with a solid foundation upon which we can build a successful business in this dynamic sector.”

SME’s management and engineering teams are based in Edinburgh. The Schottel Hydro team responsible for the design and delivery of the instream turbines will continue to be based in Spay, Germany; co-located with Schottel GmbH, who will continue to provide engineering and technical support alongside manufacturing of power take-off systems. Sustainable Marine Energy (Canada) Ltd, based in Halifax, is leading the delivery of projects in North America.

SME’s immediate focus will be on proving and improving the floating PLAT-I tidal energy system, equipped with four SIT250 tidal turbines, that is currently installed in Grand Passage, Nova Scotia, as a precursor to commencing the build out of its project at FORCE.

The first PLAT-I platform was built and tested in Scotland, with support provided by Scottish Enterprise under the WATERS3 programme. In the summer of 2018, PLAT-I was shipped to Nova Scotia, and is now installed in Grand Passage, where a testing programme is evaluating environmental impacts and performance of the technology in the Canadian winter environment.

SME is working closely with regulatory bodies and research partners in Nova Scotia and Canada to ensure that the Grand Passage deployment increases scientific understanding of marine animal behaviour around the system. The platform is also being used as a test bed for environmental monitoring systems. Acadia University and Sustainable Oceans Applied Research (SOAR) are delivering a project, funded by the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA), on methodologies to measure noise, animal presence and near field interaction with tidal energy devices.