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EEL Energy - Tidal Energy Converter

The EEL Tidal Energy Converter is an innovative biomimetic solution based on the undulating movement of marine creatures. The EEL system uses a membrane that moves up and down in currents - like the motion of an eel - capturing the kinetic energy of the currents. This kinetic energy is transformed into electricity by an electro-mechanical power take off. Thanks to the non-obstructive motion, it is inherently fish friendly.

The membrane enables the EEL to function with greater efficiency at much lower tides than traditional hydro-electric turbines that use technology initially developed for wind power.

EEL ENERGY PILOT

Concept

The water current forces the membrane of the EEL system into an undulating movement akin to that of marine life, converting the currents’ hydro-kinetic energy into mechanical energy. A series of converters then transform this mechanical energy into electricity. The EEL technology is fit for both oceanic and fluvial applications and can be used for devices from 30KW up to 1MW and machines with membrane surfaces between 5 and 16 meters long.

Levelized Cost of Energy

The estimated* average LCoE of the EEL (80KW) is in the 175-190€/MWh range when installed in a stream with a current speed of 2m/s. The actual LCoE varies with the specific adaptation/access/installation costs per site, and the cost of capital (depreciation) for the customer.

*Estimation based on updated design of the smaller-scale device used at the Gravelines test site

Many advantages

  • Predictable source of energy: tides may be projected months in advance, allowing for planning on power generation and adjustment of consumption.

  • Continuous operation: compared to solar, wind and most hydro-turbine systems that require high current speeds,
    the EEL is able to operate continuously day and night, providing reliable power without the need for costly battery storage.

  • Operation range: the EEL is able to function at current speeds too low for other hydro-electric turbines, allowing for an unparalleled operation range, from canals and rivers to shores with low current speeds.

  • Optimized spatial use: EEL installations require only
    4 times their length, allowing for more units in the same water surface compared to traditional underwater turbine systems .

  • Better environmental protection: No CO2 emissions, visual or noise pollution. Less risk of damaging collisions with marine life and vegetation than bladed turbine systems.

Possible applications

 

Fluvial applications

  • Applications for machines from 30 to 100KW, with 5x5m
    and 10x10m membranes respectively

  • Optimal function for currents in the 2-3 m/s range.

  • Necessary depth: 4-8 m

  • Potential applications include off-grid power generation for isolated settlements, supplemental power downstream from dams and nuclear plants, and power recuperation for fisheries, agricultural canals and more.

 

Marine applications

  • Applications for machines generating up to 1MW, with 16x20m membrane surface (future possibility of 10MW devices with 50m membrane in 4 m/s currents)

  • Optimal function at current speeds of 3-4 m/s

  • Necessary depth: 16m

  • Potential applications include near-shore power supply to off-grid communities, complementary use with wind turbines and use on out-of-function oil rigs

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