Photo: Orbital Marine's O2 tidal turbine (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)

Orbital Marine launches world’s most powerful tidal turbine

Scottish tidal energy company Orbital Marine Power has launched its 2MW tidal turbine from the Port of Dundee, sending it on its way to Orkney for commissioning and installation.

Photo showing Orbital Marine's O2 tidal turbine (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power9
Orbital Marine’s O2 tidal turbine (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power9

Osprey Heavy Lift managed the operation to transfer the 680-tonne tidal turbine, dubbed O2, from the Forth Ports quayside facility in Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge.

The launch marks the completion of the turbine build, managed by TEXO Fabrication.

The O2 will now be towed to the Orkney Islands where it will undergo commissioning before being connected to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), where it will become the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine.

Built with 80% of UK supply content, according to Orbital Marine, the O2 turbine started construction in the second half of 2019.

From Scottish steel work and main manufacturing through to anchors from Wales and blades from the south of England – the construction of the O2 is estimated to have supported over 80 jobs within the UK economy.

Speaking of the launch, Orbital’s CEO, Andrew Scott, said: “This is a huge milestone for Orbital; the O2 is a remarkable example of British cleantech innovation and the build we have completed here is an inspiring display of what a UK supply chain can achieve if given the opportunity – even under the extraordinary pressures of a pandemic”.

The O2 turbine has a 74-metre-long hull structure with twin 1MW power generating nacelles at the end of retractable leg structures. Its 10-metre blades give the O2 more than 600 square metres of swept area to capture flowing tidal energy.

Photo showing O2 launch in Dundee (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)
O2 launch in Dundee (Courtesy of Orbital Marine Power)

O2 has the ability to generate enough clean, predictable electricity to meet the demand of around 2,000 UK homes and offset approximately 2,200 tonnes of CO2 production per year, according to Orbital Marine.

Chris Smith, managing director of TEXO Group, said: “The O2 programme has given us a significant opportunity to demonstrate our multi-disciplinary capabilities, and our proactive approach to working collaboratively with clients. We firmly believe that the transition to a net zero environment will deliver a range of opportunities to the UK’s engineering and fabrication sectors and we are very proud to see Orbital’s O2 turbine launched today”.

Also speaking of the launch, John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, added: “I’m very proud of the role that Dundee has played in helping to deliver this pioneering tidal turbine and congratulate the team at Orbital Marine and TEXO for their incredible efforts during the hardest year in recent memory.

Orbital Marine’s incredible piece of engineering will play a pivotal role in showcasing this technology and helping Scotland to achieve its ambition in tackling the climate emergency, further propelling Dundee into a city which is transforming itself into a hub for renewables and innovation”.