EnFAIT - Nova Innovation
EnFAIT is Europe’s flagship tidal energy project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and development programme, and carried out at the world’s first offshore tidal array in Bluemull Sound, Shetland (Scotland), built by Nova Innovation.
The project brings together a consortium of blue-chip companies and industry experts, led by Nova Innovation, with the aim of reducing the cost of tidal energy by at least 40% by 2022. EnFAIT is doing this by improving tidal technology, in doubling the capacity of the array from three to six turbines, and in expanding our knowledge of how to harness the mighty forces of the tide for global energy needs.
Learnings gained from operating Nova’s first three tidal energy turbines have already delivered significant cost reductions. EnFAIT has enabled Nova to develop a new generation of turbine - the new M100-D, which uses a direct drive instead of a gearbox. Fewer moving parts improve its reliability and extend the period between maintenance intervals from one year to over two years. Nova installed the new M100-D turbine in the EnFAIT array in 2020, and two more will soon be added.
In a world first, the six turbines will be moved around within the array to study the effects on efficiency and cost reduction in a real-world environment.
The project has created a 100% European supply chain, proving the economic case for tidal energy. Tidal is already competitive with diesel generation and will be cheaper than nuclear power by 2030. We are at the tipping point where the shift to net zero carbon is pushing tidal energy to commercial reality.
As tidal energy scales up and goes mainstream, tidal energy will be a key player in the blue economy, presenting a global opportunity with an estimated market size of €138 billion by 2050.