Marine renewables: six testing facilities for innovating towards a more sustainable industry

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© LHEEA - Centrale Nantes

Atlantic France is positioned as a leader in marine renewable energies, standing out for its focus on innovation and sustainability. It is home to advanced technology platforms that allow marine renewable professionals to test tools, technologies, and materials in extreme conditions. Below,  is a selection of cutting-edge testing facilities in Atlantic France.

The development of sustainable technologies requires innovative testing facilities. In Atlantic France, we support key sectors such as marine renewables, offering unique R&D assets. 

From an offshore site connected to the grid to bench tests reproducing real-life conditions, many types of equipment are available for marine renewable businesses aiming to improve their products and solutions.

SEM-REV: a pioneer in offshore measurement

Located 20 km off the coast from Le Croisic (Atlantic France), SEM-REV is the first European offshore multi-technology test centre connected to the grid. Created by the engineering school Centrale Nantes in 2007, it has been managed by the OPEN-C Foundation since 2023. 

The 1 square kilometre site offers five different measurement buoys, which allow for the testing of solar, floating wind, tidal, and hydrogen offshore energy solutions. Since 2018, SEM-REV has hosted Floatgen, the first French floating wind turbine demonstrator.

Centrale Nantes ocean tanks: realistic reproduction of aquatic environments

In 2000, Centrale Nantes also created oceanic tanks that enable the testing of a wide variety of equipment in their natural environments, be it river or sea. The structures studied include fishing vessels, ships, and equipment related to marine renewable energies such as wind turbines, floating wind turbines, tidal turbines, or wave energy systems.

The centre has 4 different tanks, including a towing tank and a wave tank which are among Europe’s largest facilities of this type. A team of 12 people works on site. 

The Gustave Eiffel mechanical test bench: challenging durability in harsh conditions

The Nantes site of the Gustave Eiffel University is home to large mechanical test rigs that allow for the large-scale characterisation of linear structures such as cables and hoses under axial loads and transverse forces. 

With a tensile capacity of up to 5,000 kilonewtons and a 3-metre span, this advanced facility enables the evaluation of durability and mechanical behaviour under extreme conditions.

The CSTB climatic wind tunnel: simulating a hurricane

The Jules Verne climatic wind tunnel was created in 1990 by the CSTB (Scientific and Technical Centre for Building). This unique facility allows for the analysis of the behaviour of structures and systems in extreme weather conditions. 

This tunnel simulates various atmospheric phenomena, from hurricane-force winds to extreme temperatures, helping to improve the design and sustainability of products and buildings. It uses a combination of physical and digital models to deliver accurate results, contributing to end-user safety and comfort.

The SEA’NERGY platform: deploying energy systems offshore

Located on the Ocean Technocampus, in Bouguenais (near Nantes), the CEA Tech offers a platform specialising in the marinisation of energy systems. With 300 sqm of advanced equipment, it allows for the design, evaluation, and optimisation of energy systems in real marine conditions, including fuel cells, batteries, electrolysers, electrical converters, rotating machines, and heat pumps.

The SEA’NERGY platform integrates numerical tools for modelling, simulating and analysing energy systems, component testing in harsh environments, control prototyping, and real-time simulation. Thirteen people work there every day.

The CESAM facility: evaluating the impact of corrosion

Created in 2018, this 200 sqm platform is also managed by the CEA Tech and is also located on the Ocean Technocampus. It provides advanced means to assess the durability of metallic materials and composites. 

The platform has two main testing facilities: a fatigue machine coupled to a climatic chamber as well as another fatigue bench coupled to robotic RX imaging equipment at the heart of a shielded enclosure.

Are you a marine renewable specialist? Atlantic France will host the international event Seanergy from the 26th to the 28th of June 2024. 

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities our region has to offer, schedule an appointment to meet one of our business advisors there!

You can also download our free guide on marine renewables in Atlantic France.

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