ABB’s system powers the drive train and comprises a 3.2 megawatt water-cooled motor, an ACS 6000 medium-voltage variable speed drive, medium and low-voltage switchgear, distribution transformers, and a DriveMonitor monitoring and diagnostic system for the medium-voltage drive.
The US$20 million facility is part of the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in the north of England. Narec is a government-backed centre for researching, developing and testing renewable energy and low carbon power generation technologies such as wind, solar, tidal and wave.
Nautilus enables Narec customers to perform accelerated lifetime and extreme event testing of entire tidal power nacelles and individual drive train components in a controlled onshore environment.
“We can replicate about six months of tidal conditions that you would otherwise have to wait a couple of years to occur within the actual environment,” says Tony Quinn, operations director, Narec.
The facility performs the full range of mechanical and electrical load tests on the entire turbine and its key components, including the drive shafts, bearings, gearbox, generator and power converters. This enables the turbine’s performance to be evaluated and optimized prior to deployment at sea, thus improving reliability and reducing financial risk.