Minesto optimises Dragon 4 tidal energy kite power output

The commissioning program of the first Dragon 4 unit launched in Vestmannasund, Faroe Islands in May, is progressing according to plan and the flight configurations are being finetuned sequentially to optimise the power output, Swedish marine energy company Minesto has informed.

Scale model of the Dragon Class in offshore testing at Minesto's test facilities in Northern Ireland. Courtesy of Minesto

According to the company, the kite, recently named “Íðunn”, is operating autonomously 40 metres below the surface and is remotely monitored, accessed, and managed through advanced systems.

“We’re now commissioning the kite in Vestmannasund fully remotely from our headquarters in Sweden. The team is screening a vast volume of data every day to support configuration for optimized power production”, said Bernt Erik Westre, chief technology officer of Minesto.

The submerged nature of the technology calls for the ability to monitor behaviour and performance, and thereby adjust parameters as part of the tuning process, Minesto explains.

The human-machine interface (HMI) provides the operator with real-time data and graphical representation of information from both the kite and the onshore control station.

A quick glimpse from the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) HMI interface shows, for example, the flight information on kite pitch, roll and position of the rudders and elevators.

Courtesy of Minesto

The commissioning program also includes tuning of the tether system with a camera fitted on the kite, capturing the segments of the system to visually report tether behaviour against reference marks during flight.

“The fact that the control system and the algorithms dictating the flight are developed inhouse is a crucial part of our competitiveness – it enables us to optimize the system on a very detailed level”, said Martin Edlund, CEO of Minesto.

To remind, a month ago, Minesto successfully completed the first week the commissioning of its new Dragon 4 tidal power plant and achieved satisfactory electricity production and verified all core functionality.

Following its decision to strengthen the focus of its operations on Faroe Islands for its Dragon Class tidal energy converters in order to mitigate expected supply chain delays at other development sites, the company also outlined a detailed plan for large-scale build-out of tidal energy arrays in the Faroe Islands that will help bring the island country closer to 100% renewable energy.

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