Scottish Energy News WORLD EXCLUSIVE By DARA BUTTERFIELD
A pioneering Scottish renewables power company is getting ready to take delivery of the world’s biggest and most powerful tidal turbine for its sea-trials off Orkney this summer.
Weighing around 500 tonnes – about the same size as a typical German World War 2 submarine – the turbine is being built for Scotrenewables Tidal Power by the same shipyard that built the world’s largest ever cruise ship – The Titanic.
Orkney-based Scotrenewables Tidal Power (SRTP) is in the closing stages of construction and the turbine is currently being assembled at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
Installation of the mammoth turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre for sea trials in Orkney is planned for this summer.
The SR2000 represents the commercial scale offering of Scotrenewables Tidal Technology and after the May trials off Orkney is scheduled for grid connection before the end of the year.
The initial design for the Scotrenewables turbine arose from work involving Barry Johnson, a Heriot-Watt PhD student, whilst studying at the university’s Orkney Campus. The university was able to secure a Royal Society of Edinburgh fellowship for Barry to set up Scotrenewables, enabling him to commercialise the concept and secure further funding for its development.
Mark Hamilton, Managing Director, Scotrenewables Tidal Power, said: “The SR2000 is the culmination of more than 12 years of hard work and incremental testing. We’re delighted to finally offer our low cost floating tidal technology to the tidal market.”
The mammoth turbine incorporates two retractable rotors of 16m diameter mounted on the 64m hull, which allow the transport draught of the device to be reduced to 6m for towing to and from site.
The overall turbine weighs approximately 500 tonnes and will generate 2 MW of electricity at 3m/s tidal current and has been optimised to maximise energy generation at the EMEC site.
The turbine will be towed from Northern Ireland up the west coast of Scotland and is planned to arrive in Orkney in May.
Initially the turbine will be subject to tow, handling, and mooring connection trials with turbine installation at EMEC’s Fall or Warness test site and grid connected power generation planned for later this year. The company is planning a two to four year demonstration programme for the 2 MW turbine, focused on maximising reliability and testing ongoing cost reduction strategies.
Construction and assembly work of the turbine has been focussed around Harland and Wolff, Belfast – where the superstructure is being assembled – and the company’s new assembly facility at Hatston Pier in Orkney, where the turbine’s internal systems have been assembled and tested. The company anticipates that this new facility will be the main assembly point for future turbine orders from the UK tidal market.
Scotrenewables Tidal Power is following the same design philosophy that was successfully demonstrated with the SR250 prototype that was tested at EMEC from 2011 and 2013. All installation, operation and maintenance operations will be carried out with a single multicat workboat vessel. Furthermore, the design seeks to minimise the use of non-standard components to reduce cost and maximise reliability. The company is currently in talks regarding supply to several projects.
When she entered service, the 883-ft long RMS Titanic – one of three Ocean-class liners built by Harland & Wolff – was the largest ship afloat. Human error was blamed for the tragic sinking of Titanic on her maiden voyage after she hit an iceberg in the north Atlantic in 1912.
Since building its last ship in 2003, Harland & Wolff has been reinvigorated as a heavy-engineering manufacture and repair yard for offshore energy installations – oil platforms and wind turbines as well as tidal turbines.
Harland & Wolff first secured the contract to make the prototype SR250 tidal energy turbine for Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd in 2010.