TURNING THE TIDES… INTO ENERGY
Franck Sylvain is a convincing advocate for EEL Energy’s tidal energy converter. A financier by trade, he discovered EEL in 2012 when he was hired to raise capital to develop the company’s fledgling technology. Franck was so convinced of the technology’s potential that he quit the world of finance to become the company’s CEO.
“Tidal power is completely predictable, making it the greatest potential source of energy available. It’s an emerging sector, offering huge potential.”
Instead of relying on a spinning turbine, EEL Energy’s tidal energy converter features a membrane that undulates under moving fluid pressure. It is this motion that is transformed into electricity.
In 2015, the company chose Bureau Veritas to certify the convertor’s power curve and confirm performance.
“We have to prove that our machines are robust and durable. As a recognized independent certification body, Bureau Veritas helped us gain credibility, when we were the first in the world to certify the power curve on our onboard generator tidal energy converter. We chose Bureau Veritas for extensive experience in marine and offshore classification, which we saw as a real plus.”
As the cost of marine renewable energies started to drop, EEL realized they needed to simplify the technology to make it more cost-effective.
“We modified the tidal energy convertor to externalize energy generation. Our new solution is simple, effective and robust.
Power transformation now occurs outside of the water, which solves the problem of an overdose of force on the membrane. Our 3-kW prototype is capable of generating electricity with a leveraged cost of energy under 150 euros per MW. It is particularly suitable for use in waters with relatively low current – it becomes optimal at around 2.5m/second. This means it can be used in a large number of applications, including rivers. Furthermore, it creates no visual pollution, nor does the undulating motion harm marine life.”
EEL is pursuing its goal of developing a 30-kW machine by the end of the year and a 1-MW machine by the end of 2020. Franck believes that Bureau Veritas’ services have a valuable role to play in demonstrating the commercial viability of the technology.
“Certification will enable us to demonstrate that our updated technology is reliable and that our figures are accurate. We are confident working with Bureau Veritas as their engineers really know what they’re doing. Their reputation for quality is well deserved, and we know their seal of approval truly means something in our PASSPORT EU.”
Photo Credit: EEL Energy