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Fresh Euro funding pot to improve Orkney tidal turbine performance

Orbital 02 2MW turbine
Orbital 02 2MW turbine

Research funding worth more than a million pounds has been awarded to an Orkney tidal firm to improve the performance of its floating tidal turbine.

Orbital Marine, formerly Scotrenewables, and component firm SKF have been awarded £1.07 million to beef up the SR2000 turbine based at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

The funding will support a pitch controller project that will include a controller for floating tidal turbine blades allowing the blades’ to change pitch angle.

Orbital Marine CEO, Andrew Scott, 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 new demonstrator turbine, the Orbital O2 2MW, scheduled to be installed at the European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney in 2020.

The module will control two sets of blades with 20m rotor diameters, the largest the company has installed to date.

Michael Baumann, business development manager of 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.”

Orbital Marine announced an industry benchmark in August as the SR2000 tidal turbine generated more power in the past year than the entire Scottish marine energy sector managed in the 12 years prior to its launch.

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