Photo: C-Gen technology (Courtesy of the University of Edinburgh)

GKinetic set to test novel C-GEN PTO technology

Irish hydrokinetic turbine developer GKinetic Energy will trial the innovative C-GEN power take-off (PTO) technology in a new University of Edinburgh-led project.

Image showing C-Gen technology (Courtesy of the University of Edinburgh)
C-Gen technology (Courtesy of the University of Edinburgh)

The commercialisation project titled ‘Marinised PTO Systems for Ocean Energy Conversion’ brings together the C-GEN PTO team at the University of Edinburgh, and GKinetic Energy and Seabased Group acting as industry partners whose technology will be used in the trials.

The University of Edinburgh has been funded for a £112,180 project, of which £40,100 is directly provided by the Engineering & Physical Science Research Council Impact Acceleration Accounts (EPSRC IAAs) Seed Funding Call.

EPSRC IAAs are strategic awards intended to add value to existing funding and take advantage of new or unforeseen opportunities, while encouraging engagement with external non-academic partners.

The additional manufacturing partners for this project are Fountain Design Limited and Quartz Elec.

The project kicked-off on 1 April 2021, and will run for nine months until the end of December 2021.

Outcomes are specifically aimed towards providing confidence in the submerged C-GEN design in order that the manufacturing of a full-scale demonstrator can be considered in 2022.

Joseph Burchell, project lead and machines researcher at the School of Engineering within the University of Edinburgh, said: “The C-GEN Generator Topology has been produced with these challenges in mind and has been successfully demonstrated at multiple scales in both dry and wet operating conditions.

By partnering with GKinetic and Seabased Group via the IAA Project Fund, C-GEN moves closer to the production of a full scale marine energy demonstrator optimised and tailored to the requirements of the marine energy sector, for both wave and tidal energy extraction”.

The marine energy environment poses substantial challenges that must be addressed if marine renewable energy technology is to proliferate.

Key among these issues is the development of an efficient, adaptable electrical PTO system capable of coping with the highly variable forces.

Furthermore, with high operation and maintenance (O&M) costs seriously affecting the competitiveness of many systems, PTO’s must aim for designs with greater reliability and operational flexibility to lower associated downtimes.

Developing integrated modular electrical generator topology and power electronic systems has the potential to improve system reliability and reducing repair time should faults occur. The modularity allows the system to continue operation at reduced capacity should either a fault occur or if sections are required to be removed for maintenance.

Additionally, a fully flooded generator provides for a more versatile wave energy converter design, enabling a greater degree of integration compared to coupling a device to a mechanically sealed generator, the project partners said.