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Sunday, 1 April 2012


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.

Arne Quappen
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

energy solutions.


                                   By Dora Laîné]

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