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Voith and RWE to test tidal current turbine in Orkney

Voith Hydro and RWE Innogy will jointly install a 1 MW marine tidal current turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney through the joint venture (JV) company Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies.

The tidal turbine is due to start its two-year trial operation at EMEC in 2011. The installation of the foundation will start before the end of this year.

The tidal turbine is designed to feed approx. 1800 MWh of electricity into the grid per year.

The total investment is approx. £11.8 million and the tidal power project is supported by the British Government which is providing £1.7 million through the Carbon Trust’s Marine Renewables Proving Fund.

Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, RWE Innogy CEO, says: "We are testing a marine tidal current prototype for the first time on an industrial scale off the Scottish coast. The experience gathered here in terms of technology and economic efficiency will provide us with important information for our future growth in this sector.

“Following successful tests, we intend to install further marine tidal current power plants with an installed capacity of up to 100 MW mainly off the British coasts by 2020."

The tidal turbine

The tidal current turbines developed by Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies are installed completely under water and are anchored to the seabed.

The tidal turbines have direct drive and there is no need to adjust the rotor blade angle. The turbines use a permanent magnet generator and to avoid costly sealing solutions, the flow of sea water is deliberately channelled through the turbine, where it serves as a lubricant for the bearings, the companies say.

A first tidal turbine of this type with a capacity of 110 kW is currently being installed by Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies on the South Korean coast.

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Wave and tidal energy