Scottish tidal turbine developer Orbital Marine Power, and drivetrain solutions provider SKF, have been awarded €1.2 million to deliver performance improvement technology for tidal energy turbine.
The companies have been awarded research funds by the European Ocean Energy ERA-NET Cofund to support a pitch controller project that will improve the performance of Orbital Marine’s floating tidal turbine.
The project TOPFLOTE, short for Targeted Optimal Pitch module for Floating Tidal Energy, is expected to deliver a controller for floating tidal turbine blades allowing the blades’ pitch angle to be readily varied in real time to manage dynamic loadings and optimize power performance.
Andrew Scott, Orbital Marine CEO, said: “Pitch controllers have enabled the dramatic increases in turbine and blade scale that we’ve seen in the wind energy sector over the past decade resulting in significant energy cost reductions.
“We are delighted to be working with SKF on this project which will unlock similar improvements for our technology, where we are targeting up to a 50% increase in yield from our machines, bringing our performance firmly in line with more established technologies”.
The pitch module will be engineered through 2019 and incorporated for performance testing on Orbital Marine Power’s upcoming commercial demonstrator turbine, the Orbital O2 2MW, scheduled to be installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in 2020.
The module will control two sets of blades with 20-meter rotor diameters, the largest the company has installed to date.
The pitch modules will be delivered by SKF’s recently established advanced solutions factory in Gothenburg in Sweden.
Michael Baumann, Business Development Manager Marine and Ocean Energy at SKF, said: “We see tremendous potential for floating tidal technology due to its low installation and operating costs, and are delighted to be bringing our experience to bear on delivering a key enabling solution to drive cost reductions and accelerate the rollout of Orbital Marine’s floating tidal technology.”