SCORE proposes to test for the first time a floatable tidal energy converter (TEC) on Portuguese waters, the Evopod 1:10th scale prototype from OceanFlow Energy (OE). Evopod device is at the technology readiness level (TRL) 7 and a 1:4th scale prototype is presently being tested on Scottish waters on combined ocean-current environment, the requisite required for reaching TRL 8 (i.e. pre-commercial stage). The PI and team members are collaborating with OE in the Scottish test (moreinformation).

The innovative aspect of TEC testing in Portugal lies with the unique morphological characteristics associated with the device deployment site at Ria Formosa, a coastal lagoon protected by a multi-inlet barrier system located in southern Portugal (Algarve Region). Ria Formosa can be used as representative of the vast majority of shallow coastal areas where TECs can be used in the future. It is therefore ideal to analyse both the energy extraction efficiency and eventual impacts that extracting energy from the flowing currents will have on the ecological communities and physical settings.

Almost no information exists on how cumulative effects of multiple devices will impact the near and far-field flow and sediment transport patterns from array deployments . The main expected outcome of the proposed research is to construct an operational envelope which can be used by technology developers on design concepts of efficient TECs based on environmental and sustainability principles, contributing to the growth of the blue economy.

The measured energy extraction efficiency of the operational prototype will be compared against numerical models in order to validate these tools. Model simulations using different hydrodynamic settings and number of units can then be performed to (1) evaluate the impacts that energy extraction will have on the temporal and spatial changes of the flow, on sediment transport patterns and, ultimately, on the habitat; (2) develop cost benefit analysis balancing supply and demand using tidal energy.

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