The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s (ORE Catapult), National Renewable Energy Centre has completed a multi-axis onshore endurance test programme on Siemens-owned Marine Current Turbines’ (MCT) first 1MW powertrain (gearbox, generator and power conditioning equipment) using the 3MW tidal turbine drive train testing facility.
During the 11 month test programme the 1MW turbine was exposed to the full range of power output and aggressive loadings the device would experience subsea, securing performance data equivalent to over 18 years of operation in some of the world’s harshest tidal cycles.
Working together, the technical teams conducted a complete range of tests on the power train and its key components including the gearbox, power electronics and grid connection, in a controlled environment simulating the thrust and oscillating torque of extreme sea conditions. This type of testing was essential to understand how the whole system would be expected to perform in real offshore conditions before first array deployment.
Sven Stoye, Chief Executive Officer, MCT said, “We are very pleased to announce the successful completion of this significant milestone. In demonstrating an equivalent life in excess of 18 years we have completed another industry first. Together with over six years successful deployment of SeaGen in Strangford Lough and over 9GWh of electricity generation, we are confident that the technology planned for the Skerries in 2016 will be world-class.
“We would like to thank the National Renewable Energy Centre for their work and foresight in providing the sector with the testing facility, which has demonstrated its extensive capabilities in this testing programme.”
Tony Quinn, Operations Director, ORE Catapult said, “This has been a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved, and has provided important information to aid our knowledge and understanding of the capabilities of the 3MW test facility.
“For the first time, we have been able to utilise the Force Actuation System (FAS) to perform accelerated lifecycle tests. Proving the performance and efficiency of the technology is pivotal in helping the tidal stream industry to gain substantial confidence in new marine energy devices and spearhead the industry’s expansion.”
Notes to Editors
Force Actuation System (FAS)
The Force Actuation System (FAS) is designed to re-create the harsh underwater tidal conditions by enabling multi-axis loading at the same time (5 degrees of freedom).
Marine Current Turbines (MCT)
MCT, owned by Siemens since 2012, pioneered the development of the SeaGen S 1.2MW tidal turbine, the world’s first commercial scale tidal current power system at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. This has been delivering clean energy to 1,400 homes since 2008. MCT is also involved in developing new larger arrays in Wales and Scotland and internationally. Siemens is investing in tidal technology supporting MCT in developing the next generation tidal turbines. MCT currently employs 60 people at its offices at the Bristol and Bath Science Park.