By Scott Wright

EDINBURGH-based QED Naval has moved a step closer to bringing its patented support platform for tidal energy turbines to market.

The company has secured £1.5 million of investment which will be used to complete the deployment of its Subhub tidal platform at its Yarmouth Tidal Test Centre, where it aims to demonstrate how the technology can benefit the sector and build towards commercial sales.

It comes amid hopes that tidal energy can play a key role in contributing significantly to the UK’s energy needs as increased focus is placed on domestic sources, amid the fall-out from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

QED, which was founded by naval architect Jeremy Smith in 2008, declared the Subhub platform reduces the deployment and maintenance costs of tidal turbines by up to 60 per cent, while improving yields by 48%.

The company says the platform allows tidal energy to be deployed over large distances, installed quickly and cost-effectively in a single operation across a range of weather conditions, noting that it can support every state of a tidal turbine’s life, from integration ashore to deployment, installation, and retrieval for maintenance.

A total of 1,152 investors took part in the Seedrs crowdfunding drive, with additional investment from Kelvin Capital, the Glasgow-based venture capital firm that has supported the business from an early stage. Scottish Enterprise provided match funding via its Scottish Co-investment Fund.

Mr Smith, managing director of QED Naval, said: “We are delighted to have completed this funding round so we can now move ahead with the next phase of trials.

“With a global tidal energy market of £76 billion, and a predicted GVA (gross value added) of £1.4bn by 2030 supporting some 4,000 jobs, the UK, and Scotland in particular, has a unique opportunity to capitalise on its natural resources.

“Tidal power could and should compete with wind and solar in terms of cost and offers the added advantage of being a completely predictable supply of energy. The growth potential of this sector is enormous, growing from approximately 10 megawatts currently, to 1,000 MW by 2030. This is well within the industry’s capabilities and enables it to play its part in net-zero targets. The UK’s tides could provide 12 per cent of the country’s current electricity demand and reduce our reliance on imported energy.”

Angus Hay of Kelvin Capital said: “With Scotland setting ambitious targets to reach net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045, green tech start-ups are going to be key in developing the industry. Kelvin Capital are delighted to continue to support what we believe to be a truly innovative technology in the tidal energy sector.”

Kerry Sharp of Scottish Enterprise said: “It’s great to see the company moving to the next phase of its trials. Technology like the platform being developed by QED Naval is of huge societal importance as we make the just transition away from the use of fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.”

QED Naval has applied for a seabed lease in the Sound of Islay for up to 10MW of tidal energy with Islay Energy Trust. The Sound of Islay Community Tidal Project aims to install an industrial-scale Subhub platform with 10m diameter tidal turbines, generating up to 1.35 gigawatt hours (GWhr) of tidal energy from each platform.

and an annual energy production of just over 10GWhr.

Keith Murray, chief commercial officer of QED Naval, said: “There is widespread recognition that we need to act now to develop a secure, renewable energy mix, as we face the triple threats of climate change, rising bills for consumers, and global instability. Scotland has the opportunity to be a frontrunner in this maturing market. We urge the Scottish Government to invest in the infrastructure required to develop the supply chain for tidal power now, especially as we see governments in Wales and Canada investing and taking a lead.”