Video: Tidal turbine destined for commercial stream array revealed

A new video shows the three month assembly of a tidal turbine in time-lapse footage.

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, together with turbine developer Atlantis Resources, took the footage over three months as the 1.5MW AR1500 turbine was assembled prior to commissioning at the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

The AR1500 is owned by Atlantis Resources, with design and manufacturing supported by engineering giant Lockheed Martin. It will now undergo a rigorous six week pre-commissioning programme at the Catapult’s 3MW drive-train facility, commencing in June 2016, before it is installed in the Pentland Firth MeyGen array later this year.

Drew Blaxland, director of turbines and engineering services at Atlantis Resources said: “The footage does a fantastic job of showcasing the AR1500 and how efficiently it can be assembled on-site. We’re extremely proud of this turbine which is a true testament to engineering excellence. When launched at MeyGen, the turbine will operate in one of the harshest environments in the world and generate predictable power from the extreme Scottish tides.

“Ease of assembly and transportation was a key factor in the design of the AR1500. When we tested our previous turbines – the AR1000 series – at the Blyth facilities, it was shipped in pre-assembled form, which was bulkier and more costly to transport. The AR1500 has been purpose designed for transport in relatively simple to assemble modules making sub-system testing more efficient and cheaper and easier to ship – an approach that we will take into volume production.

Blaxland added: “Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running through final checks and gathering data to ensure the turbine is absolutely ready for deployment. ORE Catapult’s Blyth facilities are invaluable for us as they enable robust and reliable testing of our equipment, so naturally this is a very important stage of the development process for the AR1500 turbine.”

ORE Catapult is working with Atlantis Resources on the €1.3m Eurostars project to drive forward the development and deployment of the AR1500 tidal turbine. The series is to be installed at MeyGen, the UK’s first tidal array, in the Pentland Firth off the Scottish coast later this year.

Tony Quinn, operations director at ORE Catapult, said: “Watching the time-lapse footage gives a fascinating insight into how these devices are put together – it is captivating to see how quickly it goes from being a kit of separate parts to being a working turbine.

“It is encouraging to watch the development of this technology and to assist Atlantis Resources in bringing this technology closer to deployment. By using our testing facilities, they have been able to gather invaluable real-world data on performance and commission the AR1500, essential to guiding the development of a turbine fit for use in the Pentland Firth.”

The Catapult’s 3MW power train test rig will be used to inject torque into the drive train to support the commissioning and validation of the AR1500 prior to deployment. These final checks are critical to ensuring that any technical issues are resolved prior to deployment, minimising the risk of early complications and unplanned maintenance.

Related content:

Sustainable Marine Energy raises £4.5m investment for tidal array in Orkney

Atlantis signs deal with infrastructure investment firm Equitix

Ministers under pressure on tidal and nuclear as (current) Energy Bill nears finishing line

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