Orbital Marine keeps up with O2 technology optimisation

Scottish developer of floating tidal energy technology Orbital Marine Power has recently conducted a tank testing campaign on a scale model of O2 tidal turbine at Flowave Ocean Energy Research Facility.

Photo of scale model testing at FloWAVE (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)
Scale model testing at FloWAVE (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)

Supported by the INTERREG France (Channel) England TIGER project, Orbital Marine’s hydrodynamics team has tested 1:20 scale models in a programmable and controllable test basin environment at the FloWave Ocean Energy Facility, operated by the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

During the testing campaign, Orbital Marine’s team trialed different low-cost mooring configurations for a wide range of sites.

The team gathered data to inform the development of even more powerful powertrains and rotor sizes for the company’s O2 tidal technology, while ensuring platform stability across the worst possible combinations of wave and current scenarios including 100-year storms conditions, according to Orbital Marine.

The activities also form part of Orbital Marine’s overall €5 million R&D and engineering programme with resulting innovations to be rolled out on a continuous basis on future O2 turbines, the company said.

“At Orbital we are constantly striving to reduce the generating cost of tidal stream energy through incorporating ongoing innovations into our O2 technology. It is important that these innovations are developed with a view to the full range of metocean conditions from tidal stream sites around the world as these environments are extremely complex, with strong currents and waves coming from varying directions.

“Despite having developed our proprietary floating turbine for over 15 years, and having also built the most powerful tidal turbine, the O2 2MW; scale model testing continues to play an integral role in rapidly and cost-effectively trialing ongoing optimisations to the overall design”, Calum Miller, Principal Engineer & Hydrodynamics Manager at Orbital Marine said on the company’s blog.

To remind, Orbital Marine is currently conducting final assembly works on its O2 tidal turbine ahead of deployment at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) set for this spring.

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Once installed, the 2MW O2 tidal turbine will become the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine, capable of meeting the electricity demand of over 1,700 UK homes every year.