By Kari Williamson
The 500 kW tidal turbine prototype was designed and built by Rolls-Royce's subsidiary Tidal Generation Ltd.
Installed as part of the Deep-Gen III project, co-funded by the UK Government-backed Technology Strategy Board, the Rolls-Royce prototype tidal turbine is currently deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre’s (EMEC) offshore test site off the Orkney Islands.
It is the first EMEC located project to both receive Renewable Obligation Certificates and to reach 100 MWh of supply to the grid.
The tidal unit’s three-bladed turbine is attached by a tripod to the seabed and can operate, fully submerged at water depth of 40 m.
The design allows the tidal turbine to continually rotate to face the incoming tide at an optimal angle. In addition, the turbine unit is semi-buoyant and can be easily towed to and from the point of operation, minimising installation and maintenance costs by avoiding the need for specialist vessels, Rolls-Royce says.
As part of the Energy Technologies Institute funded ReDAPT (Reliable Data Acquisition Platform for Tidal) consortium project, Rolls-Royce is currently building a 1 MW tidal turbine demonstration unit that will be deployed in mid-2012 at EMEC.