Open Hydro Tidal Energy

RPS was appointed by Open Hydro to provide advise and engineering services related to the development of their innovative tidal energy device.  RPS assisted Open Hydro in the development of their device and particularly in the concept development, design and construction of a range of foundation structures. 

Key details

Project name
Open Hydro Tidal Energy

Open Hydro

Scotland / Nova Scotia

Services provided

  • Maritime infrastructure
  • Coastal engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Project management
  • Modelling



The development of a new tidal energy device through various phases of scale development required RPS engineers to work closely with the device developers’ technical team.  We were required to provide a range of technical services bring to the project our significant experience in the design and logistical support for maritime infrastructure projects.

The design of foundation concepts for various locations required our engineers to be flexible and adaptable to client requirements as the tidal turbine was being developed. 

A key challenge was the balance of the economics of the foundation design with the requirements for survivability and practicality of installation for a trial deployment.  Of particular importance in the consideration of device performance and deployment techniques was;

  • Water depth
  • Geology and bed morphology
  • Tidal energy
Open Hydro 1.jpg


We developed a range of viable foundation and installation concepts for various iterations of the tidal turbine development and testing. These included:

  • Fixed pile solution for a 5m prototype, installed in 8 knots tidal conditions.
  • Gravity Foundation for a 6m prototype installation in Orkney.
  • Gravity foundation for a 10m (1MW) installation in Nova Scotia. The foundation had a total weight of 450 tonnes on deployment and design included the foundation elements, steel venture and turbine cassette.
  • Concept engineering for 16m device foundation with total weight of 1110 tonnes.
  • A bespoke barge installation methodology.
  • Development of a unique device retrieval solution.
  • Site appraisal and selection.
  • Procurement and fabrication supervision.

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