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Japanese shipping giant Nippon Usain Kaisha will take part in a marine energy Marine Project planned for Singapore, as the emerging marine energy sector benefits.

The demonstration project, led by Singapore-owned Blue Energy Solutions, focuses on developing an off-grid tidal power system. Hopefully one day they can replace diesel generators.

The scheme will see three catenary turbines, some of which are deployed underwater to be used in wind farms.

NYK said it will work on three areas as part of the off-grid Marine Project: energy storage, cost of power generation, and power generation efficiency.

Founded in 1885, Tokyo-listed NYK is involved in bulk shipping, air cargo transportation and logistics, among other things.

Last week’s announcement represents its latest foray into sea power. He was previously involved in a project that installed turbines under the Sentosa waterfront, which connects mainland Singapore to Sentosa Island.

Marine Project like Singapore are in their early stages, but Asia is already home to South Korea’s Lake Sehwa Tidal Power Plant. A tidal dam power plant, it started operations in 2011 and is said to be the largest tidal power plant in the world.

According to the US Tethys database, tidal dams are “typically built at the entrance to a bay or coast” and generate electricity by taking advantage of the “difference in water height inside and outside the structure.”

While the initial focus of those working in the tidal energy industry was the development of tidal dams (EDF’s La Rennes Tidal Dam dates back to the 1960s, for example), in recent years companies have turned their attention to different systems.

These include tidal current devices that, according to the European Center for Marine Energy, “are very similar to submersible wind turbines.”


Lots Of Potential, Work To Be Done

The International Energy Agency has said that “ocean technologies have enormous potential”, but adds that additional political support is needed for research, development and demonstration to reduce costs.

Outside Asia, European installations of tidal and wave power capacity increased in 2021 as deployments returned to pre-pandemic levels amid a substantial increase in investment.

In March, Ocean Energy Europe said 2.2 MW of tidal current capacity was installed in Europe last year, down from just 260 kW in 2020. A three-fold increase from 2020

Globally, 1.38 MW of wave power came online in 2021, while 3.12 MW of offshore current capacity was installed.

Although there is excitement about the potential of tidal energy, the overall size of existing wave and tidal Marine Project is very small compared to other renewable sources.

According to data from industry body Wind Europe, in 2021 alone, Europe installed 17.4 gigawatts of wind power capacity.

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