Shell Aims to Harness the Power of the Lower Mississippi
ORPC, an marine renewable energy developer whose power systems harness the energy of free-flowing rivers and tides, has signed a contract with Shell Technology – Marine Renewable Program to initiate a Modular RivGen Power System demonstration project in the Lower Mississippi River.
The collaborative project represents an opportunity to showcase how the next generation of ORPC’s hydrokinetic technology can provide predictable baseload electricity to help decarbonize onshore assets. Once deployed, the system can potentially support the electrification of Shell facilities, including providing power to EV chargers and supporting alternative fuels production.
The demonstration project builds off previous work completed by ORPC for Shell. ORPC completed a feasibility study in November 2022 to help identify mutually beneficial applications of ORPC technology by Shell and assess the business case for pursuing pilot projects to demonstrate their use in the field. The report identified three priority use cases where ORPC power systems could contribute toward decarbonizing Shell’s existing operations, the first of which is to provide power for Shell’s onshore facilities.
In early April, ORPC technicians traveled to multiple Shell sites in Louisiana. With support from Louisiana State University, they assessed each location’s viability to support the production of hydrokinetic power generation. Resource characterization at the sites is ongoing, along with stakeholder engagement. This most recent award will focus on acceleration towards a demonstration project including the selection of a suitable site(s) as well as associated permitting and applications engineering.
The Modular RivGen device uses the proven cross-flow turbine technology of ORPC’s commercially-available RivGen Power System, optimized for lower velocity sites and reduced cost. The product is being developed at ORPC’s river test site in Millinocket, Maine with financial assistance from the Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office. The Modular RivGen system can be stacked vertically or placed side-by-side to integrate into existing or new works, including infrastructure modernization and EV charging stations, making it a versatile option to support Shell’s goal of increased renewable energy adoption.
ORPC CEO Stuart Davies said, “With its ease of transport, installation, and adaptability to different sites and industrial uses, the Modular RivGen System can be scaled into large arrays and replicated in rivers globally. Once deployed, these arrays can provide a highly-predictable baseload renewable energy resource that can serve as the foundation of a fully-renewable energy grid in the future.”