Inyanga Marine Energy Group
Inyanga Marine Energy Group
25 Mar 2024

Inyanga Marine Energy Group’s HydroWing technology converts tidal power into renewable offshore energy

The UK’s annual electricity demand is expected to more than double by 2050 [1]. In 2019, the UK government legislated net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, necessitating replacing carbon-emitting electricity generation technologies with clean alternatives [2]. To meet this daunting target of replacing fossil fuels, governments around the world are looking for alternative sources of renewable power, such as wind and tidal energy. National Geographic defines tidal energy as renewable energy powered by the natural rise and fall of ocean tides and currents [3].  

Richard Parkinson founded Inyanga Marine Energy Group in 2017 with the primary goal of developing the HydroWing device through to commercialisation. The company positions its tidal stream technology at the forefront of the growing global market for renewable energy to meet net zero targets [4]. 

Tidal energy industry overview and challenges 

Global energy providers and consumers want zero-carbon producing, clean and reliable power. Governments seek energy security and gross added value from energy projects. Tidal power can solve these problems. Unlike solar and wind, tidal energy is predictable. In addition, tidal turbines do not have to spin as fast as windmills to generate power, because water is roughly 800 times denser than air [5]. 

Grand View Research reports that the global tidal energy market was estimated at 127 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2022, with tidal energy generation expected to grow at a CAGR of 1.64% from 2023 to 2030 [6] As the price of electricity fluctuates, these figures are calculated in GWh, which is a unit of energy representing one billion watt hours and equivalent to one million kilowatt hours.[7]. Furthermore, independent research by Inyanga Marine Energy Group suggests that the global market for tidal energy has the potential to reach over $54bn by 2050.  

Tidal energy has the potential to deliver 11% of the UK’s annual electricity needs [8]. In addition, tidal power generation does not emit harmful gases into the atmosphere and is therefore an environmentally friendly energy source [9], However, tidal energy has not yet been commercialised in the UK, and unlocking its full potential to meet net zero targets comes with unique challenges. 

The development and deployment of solutions to harness the power in aggressive tidal streams requires specialist skills and know-how. Very high operational and maintenance costs have held back the commercialisation of the sector. Excessive insurance claims have led to higher premiums, and political support in terms of feed-in tariffs has been inconsistent. In addition, large, cumbersome turbines are expensive to manufacture and install, and require costly offshore vessels. Current designs have not considered subsea grid architecture to harness offshore energy effectively. Inyanga Marine Energy Group believes its next-generation technology can meet these challenges head on.

Tidal energy

Inyanga Marine Energy Group’s mission 

Inyanga Marine Energy Group (IMEG) specialises in the delivery of offshore renewable projects. It aims to be the world’s largest provider of tidal energy arrays. The group strives to be at the forefront of the fast-growing global marine renewables industry. The company includes two divisions – Inyanga Maritime, which specialises in offshore engineering and installation, and HydroWing, which develops solutions to harness tidal energy. The company is also a 50% joint owner of Tocardo, the manufacturer of tidal turbines. Inyanga Maritime positions itself as a cost effective and reliable offshore operations and engineering consultancy for the marine renewables sector.  

Inyanga Marine Energy Group claims to deliver environmentally friendly tidal energy solutions. The HydroWing aims to minimise environmental impact. It has zero visual impact, maintaining the seascape, and does not affect marine life mortality [10]. Tocardo has conducted multiple studies on the effects of its turbines on marine life and noise pollution [10]. The study found that large animals such as porpoises are expected to cross the barrier only at and around slack tides, when the turbines are not moving and are thus not producing sound. If sound produced by the turning turbines is audible to sea life in the vicinity, it will either add an extra barrier effect, or help them to locate the turbines and thus avoid colliding with them. Another study on noise pollution near its turbines at the Dutch site of Afsluitdijk showed that the noise was practically imperceptible [10]. 

 In addition, Tocardo strives to produce fish-friendly, innovative turbine solutions. No turbine-related injuries of fish were observed during tests performed by the company, although they clearly interacted with the turbine blades [10].

Hydrowing by Inyanga Marine Energy Group

Introducing HydroWing 

Inyanga Marine Energy Group has developed HydroWing, which is designed to be a cost-effective and scalable solution to harness the power of tidal streams and convert it into clean energy. The HydroWing tidal energy system is a total ‘all-in-one’ solution that meets the challenges of offshore energy, providing low-cost, clean, predictable and reliable electricity to local power grids. Low-cost operations, low maintenance and power reliability are core to its design. 

The key advantages of the HydroWing include efficient, reliable and proven turbines and a patented passive pitch bi-directional turbine blade which increases yield by 60%. It also enables low-cost operations and maintenance using its unique Quad Hull Barge. There is no need for specialist offshore vessels and the compact nature of the device allows low-cost logistics and handling using standard ISO containers. The HydroWing has a fatigue-resistant substructure. 

Renewable tidal energy with Hydrowing

How the HydroWing works 

HydroWing system relies on ocean tides. The UK experiences two high tides and two low tides each day. This movement of water is created by the gravitational force of the moon and sun and the rotation of the earth. Tocardo tidal stream turbines are designed to work in these turbulent waters to generate electricity. 

The Hydrowing is a multi-rotor sub-sea device with turbines mounted in a wing-like structure which is stabbed onto a framework, modular sub-structure, which, in turn, is mounted on the seabed. The ‘wings’ which hold the turbines are then lowered into position on this structure, making the HydroWing easy to deploy. The turbines are bi-directional, so they generate power as the tide comes in and as it goes out. The Tocardo turbines are also cost-effective to produce at scale.  

The current configuration consists of two Tocardo T3 turbines that produce up to 880kw with a 14-metre passive pitch bi-directional blade. The power is converted to grid compliance through a turbine control hub and connects via a wet-mate connector. 

The founders' story

Richard Parkinson
founder and managing director

Richard conceived the HydroWing device. He is an established offshore professional with extensive experience in executing complex offshore operations in the harshest environments and specialising in solutions for the offshore renewable energy sector. Richard’s offshore career started in 1984 where he worked on BP tankers. He then progressed to Master on anchor-handling tug supply vessels and heavy lift construction barges in the offshore oil industry in the North Sea, Asia and West Africa. In 2004, he acquired the company Mojo as an ongoing marine contracting business. Over the next decade, Richard developed the business into a highly successful international marine project management company specialising in the installation of offshore renewable energy projects, before exiting in 2015. This became the catalyst for the formation of the Inyanga Marine Energy Group.  

The next steps for Inyanga Marine Energy Group 

The company has chosen to use Floww’s innovative infrastructure to facilitate their next funding round and help them achieve their future goals. Inyanga Marine Energy Group plans to use this funding for the manufacturing and onshore testing demonstration of the Tocardo T3 turbine, passive pitch blade development and a full-scale demonstration project.  

The company has already installed 55% of total global tidal energy capacity. In 2023, the UK Contracts for Difference (CFD) awarded IMEG a 10MW project at the Morlais tidal site in Wales, for deployment in 2027. IMEG is also developing a 10MW deal for tidal-energy projects in Southeast Asia for PLN Indonesia Power.  

Inyanga has also won a public tender to decarbonise Capul Island in the Philippines. It was awarded the contract for engineering, procurement and construction. This will be the first ever tidal energy plant in Southeast Asia, expected to deploy in late 2025. 

Inyanga Marine Energy Group’s project pipeline has a combined deployed capacity of 43MW, and includes future projects in Canada, the Philippines, the Channel Islands, Indonesia and Wales.  

**Floww Markets Limited is a company authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 980098.

The information and imagery contained within this article does not represent the opinions of Floww. Floww does not have a view on opinions provided by Inyanga Marine Energy Group in this article and elsewhere where they may be expressed, and is not responsible or liable for the information within this article.