Marine energy comes from two main sources:
waves, which originate from wind; and
tides, which are caused by the gravitational
pull of the moon and sun. One of the benefits of
harnessing tidal currents is that, unlike wind and waves,
they are predictable and offer an ecologically friendly
and reliable source of energy.
Minesto has developed a new kind of tidal energy
solution based on its Deep Green concept, which uses
low water speeds to create energy. This revolutionary
concept makes it possible to install and operate plants
in areas where no other known technology can operate
cost effectively, thus expanding the number of sites
where tidal energy can be generated.
A groundbrea king and unique solution
The Deep Green technology converts energy from
tidal stream flows into electricity by way of a novel
principle: an underwater kite. The kite consists of
a wing, turbine and generator, and is attached by
a tether to a fixed point on the ocean bed. The speed
of the kite determines the flow velocity to the turbine.
Electricity is transmitted onshore through a power
cable inside the tether.
“What makes our technology unique is that we can
extract energy, in a cost-efficient way, from low stream
velocity,” said Arne Quappen, Development Manager,
Minesto. “Our competitors use tidal streams that
are habitually 2.5 meters/second (8.2 feet/second),
whereas we can use tidal streams between 1.5 and
2 meters/second." Another advantage of our system,
compared to our competition, is that their installations are bigger,
heavier and more difficult to install.
” he said.
The technology developed by Minesto is lightweight and
small compared to other tidal solutions, resulting in
reduced costs in material, transport, installation, service,
maintenance and dis assembly."
“We have to compete with other more established
energy sources such as coal or nuclear,” Quappen
said. “The fact that we are not as established as
traditional energy producers is a tough challenge and
one that we have to meet by improving the reliability and
cost- effectiveness of our solutions.”
Designing energy-producing underwater
kites with CATIA PLM Express
Minesto uses CATIA to design innovative tidal energy solutions. The flexibility
and rapidity with which it can create its designs enables Minesto to show potential
customers design variations based on their requirements. Compared to its previous
CAD system, model size is no longer a problem, allowing Minesto to work on
complex models and assemblies of its products.
Development Manager, Minesto
With CATIA, we can work on more complex
models and assemblies with all the related
details. Model size is no longer a problem.
Catering to the nee ds of potential
Minesto is currently developing and testing prototypes
of its solution before going to production. “Our objective
is to create a robust design of our kite that we can then
adapt to the needs of our customers,
” Quappen said.
“As a development company we are in discussion with
potential customers to collect their requirements and to
implement them in our commercial products.”
In 2010, Minesto chose CATIA PLM Express from
Dassault Systèmes for its 3D design work and for
drawing production. “Our previous solution lacked
the design precision and flexibility we needed,”
Quappen said. “During this initial product development
phase, it is important for us to create
different design variations quickly and to
show them to potential customers before
converging on the right design. With
CATIA, as opposed to our previous
solution, we can work on more complex
models and assemblies with all the
related details. Model size is no longer a
Semcon, a Dassault Systèmes’ partner,
helped Minesto implement CATIA
provided training and consulting services.
“Semcon’s industry know-how and
extensive knowledge of CATIA accelerated
our learning curve
,” Quappen said.
Minesto, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, is a
spin-off of the Saab Group. Formed in 2007,
the company develops technology for a new
type of tidal power plant. After validating
the cost-effectiveness and viability of its
designs, Minesto was chosen by the Carbon
Trust to participate in its Marine Energy
Accelerator program. Minesto was recently
granted £350,000 from the Carbon Trust to
deploy the first prototype of its Deep Green
underwater kite. Carbon Trust´s programs
support those companies that are most
promising in the development of alternative
By Dora Laîné]
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