Toshiba joins Japanese ocean power study

February 2015

IHI Corporation and Toshiba Corporation have been selected by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (Nedo) as co-researchers in the “Research and Development of Ocean Energy Technology – Demonstration Research of Ocean Energy Power Generation” initiative.

“After concluding the formal contract with Nedo, we will conduct demonstration research of a turbine system driven by the ocean current,” a Toshiba statement said.

IHI and Toshiba, together with the University of Tokyo and Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute, have conducted R&D financed by Nedo’s “R&D of Ocean Energy Technology – R&D of Next-Generation Ocean Energy Power Generation (Underwater Floating Type Ocean Current Turbine System)” programme since fiscal year 2011. The demonstration research is based on their achievements to date.

Power generation driven by ocean energy from currents, temperature differences, tidal movements, waves, etc is undergoing extensive study in Europe and the US as a measure to counter global warming, and there are expectations of market growth. Nedo has promoted R&D projects in ocean energy power generation technologies since fiscal year 2011, with the goal of developing world-leading technology and contributing to lower carbon dioxide emissions in Japan.

Within this framework, the unique “underwater floating type ocean current turbine system” developed by IHI and Toshiba will demonstrate power generation in a real ocean environment, in a project expected to continue until fiscal year 2017. The research work is expected to prove the viability of ocean energy power generation and to create the framework for an industry, and also to contribute to improved energy security for Japan.

The underwater floating type ocean current turbine system is a power generation device with two counter-rotating turbines. It is anchored to the sea floor and floats like a kite carried and driven by the ocean current. IHI is the lead company in the co-research project and will manufacture the turbine and floating body. Toshiba will supply electric devices, such as the generator and transformer.

Ocean currents, such as the Kuroshio Current, are a natural energy resource with little fluctuation in flow regardless of time or season. In Japan, an island nation, success in converting the massive power of the ocean current will create a large-scale, stable power source.

IHI and Toshiba will continue R&D of the underwater floating type ocean current turbine system to realise a sustainable renewable energy source.

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