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Optimisation is key to enable the tidal sector to make significant contributions towards Europe’s energy systems, energy security and industrial development by 2030, and beyond to 2050.

MAXBlade is a highly ambitious project designed to deliver the essential blade and rotor innovations needed to aggressively bring down the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCoE).

The single, biggest innovation the EU Horizon Europe MAXBlade project seeks to deliver is an increase in rotor diameter from 20m to 26m. This will increase the area the blade can sweep by 70% – hugely improving tidal energy efficiencies.

A suite of MAXBlade innovation projects will generate essential data across the entire life cycle of the tidal blades. Eight consortium partners – Orbital Marine Power, Marasoft, TECNALIA, University of Edinburgh, EMEC, ENGIE Laborelec, the European Composites Industry Association and TechnipFMC – will collectively research blade reliability, scale and recyclability, condition monitoring, control, integrated maintenance management, and knowledge capture methods.

Combined, these innovations seek to aggressively drive down tidal energy costs for volume manufacturing.

MAXblade - Project Overview

Project Initiatives and Innovations, cost reduction predictions

(based on an independent technology review by Black & Veatch Engineering Consultants)

Project aim

Orbital’s tidal stream energy technology represents a disruptive approach to cost. MAXBlade aims to reduce the levelized cost of energy of Orbital’s tidal technology by 20%.

Innovations in MAXBlade, and the system wide innovations of FORWARD-2030, will be combined in a core product which will:

  • achieve aggressive cost reduction targets in line with the SET-Plan targets on OCEAN Energy, and
  • support the financing of a number of targeted pilot tidal arrays, and
  • support further cost reductions through volume manufacture.
MAXblade - Project Overview

Project objectives

The project has six objectives:

Deliver reliable, cost optimised and customisable 26m tidal turbine rotor to maximise project yield.

Develop and implement advanced tidal blade structural condition monitoring to increase turbine availability.

Deliver reliable control inputs and optimal blade/controller designs to maximise array level power performance.

Enable circularity in tidal turbine blades including recyclable thermoplastic manufacturing;

Secure European leadership of tidal turbine composite blade manufacturing with competitive 320 tidal blade per annum capacity by 2030

Advance integrated digital maintenance management of tidal arrays.

Project background

Tidal energy is an unharnessed resource. The future commercial rollout of tidal stream energy, in line with the EU Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy and Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET) targets, rests on five key pillars:

The ability to approach cost competitiveness with other low carbon technologies through aggressive technical innovation;

Addressing technology and component performance uncertainties and mature asset management which impacts on the sectors ability to raise affordable finance for wide scale rollout;

Cost reduction through volume manufacturing and supply chain capacity;

A pipeline of deployment opportunities; and

Consenting and environmental impact uncertainties including other sea-users.

Advance integrated digital maintenance management of tidal arrays.

MAXBlade has been developed to significantly advance these first three pillars with a focus on the entire blades use and end-use lifecycle, control, condition monitoring and asset management.

MAXBlade is a parallel, sister project to FORWARD-2030. It will run approximately 18 months behind FORWARD-2030 and be supported from operational data from FORWARD-2030 and the O2 tidal turbine. It will comprise performance testing the innovations on at least 2 units c. 5 MW total installed capacity for a 24 month period.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-01-07