Watch: Design Unveiled for World’s Most Powerful Tidal Turbine
Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power has revealed the design for the world's most powerful turbine to date. The company's upcoming commercial production tidal turbine, the Orbital O2 2MW, is targeted to be deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney in 2020.
The Orbital O2 will comprise of a 73-meter (240-foot) long floating superstructure, supporting two 1MW turbines at either side for a nameplate power output of 2MW, at a tidal current speed of 2.5 m/s. With rotor diameters of 20 meters (66-foot), it will have a 600 square meter rotor area, the largest ever on a single tidal generating platform to date. Orbital Marine believes that, when launched in 2020, it will be the most powerful tidal generating platform in the world.
The steel structure of the turbine has been simplified to reduce fabrication costs and future-proof the product for volume manufacturing. The draft of the unit is less than three meters to ensure the machine can be towed and installed with modest sized work boats.
The Orbital O2 has been designed for low cost access to all systems and components, the vast majority of which are located within the floating superstructure for simple onsite maintenance. The machine will also feature “gull wing” style retractable legs that raise the nacelles, pitch hubs and blades to the water surface for easy access without the need for any specialist heavy lift vessels.
The system will feature 360 degree blade pitching control. This will allow safe, dynamic control of the machine’s 20-meter rotors and will enable power to be captured from both tidal directions without need to yaw the entire platform. These controllers will support the installation of even larger blades in the future.
CEO Andrew Scott says the low-cost technology will unlock tidal markets around the world at a competitive price and provide regulators and investors with a new, predictable renewable energy option.
The first production unit will be funded with support from a live public debenture offer through the Abundance Investment platform, along with the European Horizon2020 and Interreg North West Europe innovation programs. The debenture offer has already raised close to 50 percent of its £7 million ($9 million) target.