The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Atlantis Resources have today announced that the tidal developer’s next generation 1.5MW tidal turbine, the AR1500, will undergo a six week test programme at the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth. The tests aim to de-risk the AR1500’s deployment by proving the reliability and validating the performance of its power train system.
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 which is to be installed at MeyGen, the UK’s first tidal array, in the Pentland Firth off the Scottish coast. The tests are the critical final stage of development that will give Atlantis, MeyGen and their investors the confidence that the turbine is ready to be deployed and to start generating electricity.
The Catapult’s 3MW power train test rig will be used to simulate the dynamic forces the turbine will experience during operation. This type of testing is critical to ensuring that any technical issues are resolved prior to deployment, minimising the risk of early complications and unplanned maintenance.
This will be the second tidal turbine Atlantis has tested at the National Renewable Energy Centre. In 2012, Atlantis’ 1MW turbine, the AR1000, successfully completed four weeks of testing, gathering performance data equivalent to four months of operation. The knowledge gained from this first test has been crucial to accelerating the development of the AR1500.
Preparations for the test are currently underway. ORE Catapult and Atlantis are working together to develop the test plans to simulate, as close as possible, the real life operating conditions of the turbine. ORE Catapult has also commenced the design of the steelwork required to hold the turbine in position during load testing.
Tony Quinn, Operations Director at ORE Catapult, said: “The MeyGen project is strategically important, reinforcing the UK’s position as a global leader in tidal development, and so I’m very pleased to welcome back Atlantis and to be able to support them in the testing and validation of their next generation tidal turbine.
“Here at the Catapult, we work collaboratively with innovators such as Atlantis to help develop their ideas into market ready technologies. Our range of testing assets and methods helps to reduce risk in new innovative designs and generate confidence in their performance, ultimately tackling some of the industry’s major technology challenges to drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy.”
Luke Murray, Design Director at Atlantis Resources, said: “We are delighted to be working with ORE Catapult again. The ability to check the performance characteristics of the turbine, validate the control system, and prove the AR1500’s reliability prior to deployment is a critical element in the technology’s development lifecycle and will provide the market and investors with value-added confidence.”