Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion

NEMO Ocean Thermal Project, Martinique

Earlier this week, EU commissioner Hedegaard announced the results of the Second NER300 Call in a brief press conference. In this round, 1 bn Euro’s has been awarded to 19 projects in 12 countries. Akuo and DCNS’ offshore OTEC project, NEMO, was also awarded €72m Euro.

NEMO is an ocean thermal energy project off the west coast of Martinique in the Caribbean Sea. A moored barge will be installed housing four turbo-generators. Each will be driven by an Ammonia closed Rankine cycle utilising the circa 20°C temperature difference between the cold seawater at 1.1 km depth and the warm surface waters. The cold water is pumped via a single large diameter riser. Each turbine will produce roughly 4 MW resulting in a total nominal installed capacity of 16 MW with a maximum available capacity of 10.7 MW. The net generated power is exported to the grid via a subsea cable and a substation at an existing conventional fossil fuel power plant.

This project falls within the scope of the partnership agreement signed in January 2013 between DCNS and Akuo Energy to combine their respective skills with a view to marine renewable energy (MRE) developments. First application of this cooperation, the offshore OTEC plant project in Martinique will benefit from the complementary know-how of the two partners, which will work together during the construction and operation phases.

Akuo Energy will provide its expertise in the development and funding of renewable energy projects and its knowledge of island territories. It will be responsible for the grid connection of the plant, for example. Eric Scotto, Akuo Energy CEO, declared: “The success of the NEMO project is a source of pride for Martinique and all the French overseas regions. This decision on a European level consolidates the development of our group in insular tropical regions, on the most appropriate Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) technology for these specific areas”.

Meanwhile, DCNS will be the technical and industrial coordinator of the project, to which it will bring its unrivalled skills in complex system engineering and maintenance. Frédéric Le Lidec, DCNS Senior VP Marine Renewable Energy Business Line, said: “The selection of this project by Europe prefigures the development of an OTEC industrial sector in which DCNS will be one of the main stakeholders. This technology will eventually benefit all overseas island territories, non-connected to continental power grid, and therefore help isolated areas achieving energy self-sufficiency”.

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