DesignPro Wraps Up Orkney Islands Trials

Irish company DesignPro Renewables has completed the deployment and testing of its 60kW (DPR60) turbine at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, Scotland in conjunction with Leask Marine.

DesignPro Renewables 60kW hydrokinetic turbine operational and generating clean power in Orkney Islands, Scotland, in conjunction with Leask Marine. Photo: Colin Keldie / DesignPro Renewables.

The completely operational turbine and deployment system underwent a comprehensive series of tow testing to prove out all operating systems.

Based in Limerick Ireland, DesignPro Renewables is developing and demonstrating 25 kW and 60 kW turbines. These hydrokinetic turbines convert the kinetic energy within rivers, estuaries and tidal flows into electrical power thanks to support from the European Commission Horizon 2020 fund.

Working with Mitsubishi Electric and Ario, DesignPro Renewables has developed a maximum power point tracking system that ensures the turbines are operating at maximum efficiency in all flow speeds up to the rated output of 60kW.

The DPR60 platform is an end-to-end hydrokinetic energy solution suitable for deployment in sheltered water with mean wave heights of 1 metre. Mechanical design allows for raising the turbines for mechanical maintenance and cleaning. All turbine parts are accessible from the platform itself, the company explains.

The turbines, now demonstrated and proven in both France and Scotland, self-start at a flow speed of 0.6 m/s. They can be deployed as a grid connected system fitted with inverters outputting three phase grid compatible power. They can also be supplied as an autonomous unit to charge batteries or supply power to off grid hybrid systems. Remote SCADA systems allow tracking of power production and alarm conditions.

Innovation Manager for DesignPro Renewables, Vincent Mc Cormack, observing one of the turbines as it generates clean, predictable power. Photo: Colin Keldie, / DesignPro Renewables

During testing, the DPR60 turbines rotated at a maximum of 15rpm. The rotation direction is such that objects are diverted away from and outside the turbines. These unique features significantly mitigate risk of; injury to marine life, impact of debris, danger to users or damage to the turbines themselves.

The device is a floating platform with turbines underwater and is deployed via a mooring system, which can be tailored for either a unidirectional or bidirectional flow and can be easily moved if needed.

This testing phase follows on from the deployment of the DPR25 at the SEENEOH test site in Bordeaux France. This 25kW machine was deployed for 12 months under the company’s H2020 project, following which, thanks to support from BlueGIFT, the device has been kept at SEENEOH for prolonged survivability testing on the river Garonne. The turbines have ran as required during the last 16 months and have so far achieved expected efficiencies of 33% while further opportunities for optimisation were identified and worked into the larger 60kW model.

Since beginning in July 2017, DesignPro Renewable’s project has organically evolved with the commercial product offering becoming more substantial, now including an access platform, mooring facilities, built-in O&M features and a proven deployment process. Now nearing the end of the project, the company is busy lining up commercial demonstrations for 2020 and 2021 in partnership with IP owner and creator GKinetic Energy.

These unique turbines act as an ideal clean alternative to 60kW diesel generators in remote and island communities. The system stands out due to the predictability of the power, its ability to provide baseload power and its ability to generate more power in lower flows thanks to its patented bluff body concept.

Roisin Mc Cormack, sales and marketing manager at DesignPro Renewables: “We are really excited to have performance data from our largest model yet, the 60kW, now ready for a longer-term, commercial deployment. We believe it will address a real gap in the market in that middle ground beginning at 10kW going right up to 1MW. The primary end users being communities and businesses that are off-grid or grid poor and who are forced to use diesel generators as their only viable option. Our 60kW device can provide a clean, independent and predictable supply of electricity to these users, removing the burden and constant drain of funds spent on polluting diesel fuel thus improving quality of life and creating positive change.”

Leask Marine, a marine construction and engineering company with offices in both Ireland and the UK, won the tender for the design and build of DesignPro’s 60kW unit. Along with the design and fabrication work, they also led the initiative to test the device in Kirkwall, a first for the company to test a device they had designed and built in their own home waters.

Vincent Mc Cormack, innovation manager at DesignPro Renewables, said: “The team at Leask have done an exceptional job at managing and delivering what has been a very ambitious project. Their knowledge and experience are second to none and meant the most efficient means of reaching the project goals were identified and followed. The team have a great hands-on and positive attitude that gets results and we couldn’t recommend them enough.”

Douglas Leask from Leask Marine said: “We are delighted to have been entrusted by DesignPro Renewables to receive the prestigious project award of designing & building this 60kW HydroKinetic turbine platform. This has been the first order through our new business unit in the Republic of Ireland supporting our Groups escalating international marine operations.”