DTOcean+ is an ambitious EU project – funded by the Horizon 2020 – to develop and demonstrate an open source suite of design tools to accelerate innovation and commercialisation in the ocean energy sector. This 3-year project (1 May 2018 – 30 April 2021) has a total budget of €8 million euros.

Energy Systems Catapult is providing Offshore Renewables, Systems Integration, Modelling and Infrastructure and Engineering expertise to develop a structured innovation design tool for concept selection in ocean energy systems.

The Challenge

Technologies which harness ocean energy are not yet mature enough for widespread use. At present they all possess performance, reliability and survivability challenges, which lead to high costs of energy in comparison with other energy sources.

DTOcean+ is aiming to overcome these challenges with the correct tools and processes to support technology innovation and market growth.

The integrated tools will be demonstrated in the setting of real world technology deployment projects, with access to these projects being provided by the project’s industrial and commercial partners. The project will create a set of digital models which will also provide a common language for the entire ocean energy sector.

The Innovation

DTOcean+ will develop and demonstrate a suite of 2nd generation advanced design tools for the selection, development and deployment of ocean energy systems, aligning innovation and development processes with those used in mature engineering sectors, including:

  • Technology concept selection, facilitated by structured innovation design tools,
  • Technology development, enabled by a stage-gate design tool,
  • Deployment optimization, implemented by deployment and assessment design tools.

Users of the DTOcean+ suite of tools will be able to generate designs for innovative ocean energy technologies and deployments. These designs will be optimised for a wide variety of key metrics including lifetime costs, reliability, availability, maintainability, survivability, performance, environmental impact and socio-economic impact.

Designs generated using DTOcean+ will also balance technological and financial risk which, in combination with greatly improved cost effectiveness, should ensure that ocean energy technologies become significantly more commercially attractive.

On the basis of the work carried out under the previous FP7 ‐ DTOcean project, software tools are developed taking into account the expectations of end‐users identified during a consultation, but also the functionalities not covered by the various tools available on the market. Once developed, the various tools will be integrated into a software suite and tested with real scenarios.

At the end of the project, this suite will be made available to all, and in the first place: farm and technology developers, project leaders, design offices, public and private investors. It will also provide standard data formats for the description of ocean energy technologies at different levels of complexity and farm design improvement routines based on global assessment metrics. This will allow more robustness in technological choices with a significant impact in lowering the average cost of the energy produced by these systems.

Within 5 years of completing the project it’s expected that the results will contribute to achieving a significant increase in the number of ocean energy technologies successfully brought to market, improvement in performance uncertainty contributing to achieving up to 6% and 8% reduction in Levelized Cost of Energy for wave and tidal respectively, significant reduction in operating and maintenance costs and reductions in installation costs.

The Solution

Energy Systems Catapult is providing expertise in Offshore Renewables, Systems Integration, whole system Modelling, and Infrastructure and Engineering to develop a structured innovation design tool for concept selection of ocean energy systems. This will include:

  • Best practice guidance for concept selection,
  • Defining technical requirements in terms of digital information, data and the assessment process to fulfil user requirements,
  • Developing, testing and verifying the Structured Innovation design tool.

The tool is intended to provide the innovator with information, a process, validated data, analysis and comparative assessments. The process of using the Structured Innovation tool will provoke the designer to consider and contemplate the interactions between technical solutions to a problem, and the necessary compromises that are required to meet the design intent or requirements.

Consortium partners

The DTOcean+ consortium has been formed to bring together representatives of all key user and stakeholder groups and developers of Europe’s leading ocean energy sub-systems, devices and arrays.

Representatives of the 15 partners met in Derio, near Bilbao (Spain) to launch the project from 14 to 16 May 2018 at the kick-off meeting (KoM) organised by Tecnalia, the project leader. Mr. Paolo Tacconi, project officer from the Innovation & Network Executive Agency (European Commission) actively participated. It is also worth mentioning that international collaboration is developed to avoid duplication, ensure replication and gain global acceptability of the design tools. Representatives of two US institutions, Sandia National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, participated to the KoM.

Tecnalia (Spain), University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Energy Systems Catapult (United Kingdom), Wave Energy Scotland (United Kingdom), France Energies Marines (France), WavEC (Portugal), Aalborg Universität (Denmark), Enel Green Power (Italy), Bureau Veritas (France), IDOM (Spain), OCEANTEC Energias Marinas (Spain), Nova Innovation (United Kingdom), CorPower Ocean (Sweden), Open Cascade (France), Orbital Marine Power (UK), Enegias de Portugal (Portugal), Sabella (France).

International partners

Sandia National Laboratories (USA), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA).

Progress to-date

The first year of the project is reflected in the publication of coherent sets of functional and technical requirements developed for the DTOcean+ suite of design tools based on analysis of gaps between the current state-of-the-art tools, learning from the original DTOcean project, and the stakeholder expectations identified in the user consultation survey. The technical requirements of the 4 advanced design tools for tidal and wave energy systems that will constitute the new release of the DTOcean+ suite.

Deliverable D3.1 ‐ Technical requirements for the implementation of structured innovation in ocean energy systems: reviews and analyses of structured innovation best practices from standards and other sectors are now available in deliverable D3.1. This first step will enable the adaptation of the recommended modules suited to the needs of the ocean energy sector. This report also defines the 21 technical requirements that are specific to this tool. The publication of the other three technical requirements can be found here.

The General Assembly validated in May 2019 the integration of 3 new partners into the project- Enegias de Portugal, Orbital Marine Power, and Sabella.

UPDATE (May 2020)

Two years after kick-off, the DTOcean+ project has just finalised the implementation of standalone alpha versions for the different tools and modules. All related public deliverables are now available HERE.