Marine energy design and innovation tools with DTOcean+

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 expertise in Offshore Renewables, Systems Engineering, Whole Systems Modelling and Clean Tech Engineering to develop a structured innovation design tool for concept selection in ocean energy systems.

The Innovation

The DTOceanPlus project developed and demonstrated a suite of advanced design tools which enable users to select, develop, assess and deploy ocean energy systems. These tools address the full life cycle of tidal stream and wave devices, arrays, and their constituent components.

The tools make available to the ocean energy sector a range of innovation and development processes typically used in more mature engineering sectors, including:

  • Technology concept creation and selection, facilitated by a structured innovation tool.
  • Technology development and demonstration, managed with a configured stage-gate tool.
  • Deployment optimisation, implemented using a series of deployment design and assessment tools.

Users can generate designs for innovative ocean energy technologies and deployments. These designs can be optimised for a wide variety of critical metrics, including lifetime costs, reliability, availability, maintainability, survivability, performance, and environmental and socio-economic impact.

The Challenge

Technologies that harness ocean energy are still relatively immature, preventing them from being widely deployed.

At present, most available technologies have challenges relating to performance, reliability, survivability, and/or capital and operating costs. These result in relatively high energy costs compared to other energy sources.

To overcome these challenges, tools and processes are needed to support technology innovation and market growth.

An integrated suite of design tools is required, in a single package, to facilitate:

  • A structured and rigorous approach to innovation.
  • Robust management of stage gates throughout the product development and deployment lifecycle.
  • Development and assessment of both concept and detailed designs, and of their deployment in specific arrays and locations.

The Solution

Following on from work conducted under the previous FP7 project, the DTOceanPlus project developed the next generation of ocean energy design software tools, including new innovation and stage gate tools, and integrated these together into a tool suite which is unique in the sector.

The tools were tested using real scenarios, with support from industrial partners.

The Structured Innovation tool developed by ESC uses several well-proven methodologies, configured specially for the ocean energy sector.

  • These enable robust analysis of requirements, existing solutions, and areas for improvement and innovation.
  • They provide a mechanism to address conflicting requirements and to create novel solutions.
  • They enable analysis and early mitigation of technical risks associated with design concepts.

DTOcean+ Advanced Design Tools for Ocean Energy Systems

The open-source software and all supporting information is available.

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The Impact

  • The DTOcean+ project provided an integrated suite of lifecycle design, deployment and assessment tools enabling users to develop, assess and improve ocean energy systems.
  • Energy Systems Catapult played a crucial role, developing, testing and verifying the Structured Innovation tool.
  • The Structured Innovation tool assists users to ensure they are solving the most important problems, and to develop  innovative, de-risked solutions which meet all critical requirements.
  • This is especially important where there are conflicting requirements, or requirements which developers have so far struggled to meet.
  • Uptake of the DTOcean+ tools should contribute to achieving a significant increase in the number of ocean energy technologies successfully brought to market over the next few years.
  • Potential users include project and technology developers, certification bodies, public and private investors, and others.
  • Designs generated using the DTOcean+ suite of tools will be based on more robust technological choices, with improved performance uncertainty and a better balance of technological and financial risks.
  • This will result in greatly improved lifetime costs of energy, and should ensure that ocean energy technologies become significantly more commercially attractive.

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Ocean energy design and innovation tools

Clean Tech Engineering

Our independent, whole systems approach is technology-agnostic, helping you make the right zero carbon technology choices for your business.

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