Atlantis Resources Corporation will continue its AR1000 tidal turbine testing programme at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, Northumberland. The company’s AR1000 nacelle was retrieved from its test berth at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney in late November, following successful open ocean testing. It will be transported to Blyth for preparation ahead of the spring opening of Narec’s 3MW capacity turbine drive train testing facility. The independent onshore facility has been developed to de-risk in-field activities, conducting reliability and performance appraisals of new devices and system components through accelerated lifetime testing.
“The move to Narec’s test rig provides the centrepiece for another busy year of technical development as we move closer to customer delivery. Our engineers and technology partners will verify and build on the valuable testing data from EMEC, culminating in design upgrades on the existing AR technology platform.”
Atlantis’ shareholders have committed to a continued programme of investment in technology development in 2012. The company has already engaged Lockheed Martin to complete a design analysis of the AR technology platform and expects this work to lead to the integration of some exciting design amendments and system upgrades as it builds towards final commercial specifications for customer delivery. Atlantis is also seeking to grow its team through the recruitment of the brightest minds from related industries to work closely with customers on the delivery of systems designed to their required site specifications. It expects to bring in new recruits into key engineering and procurement positions over the course of the year.
The 1MW AR1000 turbine is in excellent structural condition and Atlantis expects to undertake planned modifications followed by testing on the new Narec test facility. The test programme is being designed to yield data on nacelle efficiency, control system validation and thermal analysis of major nacelle components, as well as testing the system integrity of the modifications. Narec’s controlled environment will allow Atlantis to focus on the most demanding operating conditions and accrue more data in a shorter period of time. It also enables the engineering team to carry out more detailed observations of individual components under load and simulated operating conditions.
Upon completion, the turbine is scheduled to return to Orkney. Atlantis holds a berth at EMEC until 2015. The company’s 2011 open ocean testing programme at EMEC achieved material progress in offshore subsea connection operations, turbine energisation, structural loading data and converter synchronisation to the Scottish Grid via EMEC’s Eday substation. The AR1000 was energised in May, the converters were synchronised to the Grid in June and first power was generated to Grid in July.
In autumn 2011, Atlantis experienced some developmental engineering issues arising from the commissioning programme. This included the identification of a non-redundant medium voltage component within the AR1000 circuit which prevented further production of electricity to the Grid. Crucially, the medium voltage system functioned as intended and no fault levels were transposed to the external power export system at EMEC.
Together with its partners, Atlantis is developing some of the world’s first tidal power generation sites, including in the Pentland Firth, Scotland, the gulfs of Khambhat and Kutch in Gujarat, India, and at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy, Nova Scotia.
Commenting on Atlantis’ plans for 2012, CEO Tim Cornelius said, “We are very excited to be able to give our engineers the opportunity to make use of Narec’s world class testing facility. It will allow us to get valuable contiguous hours of operation under controlled and monitored conditions.
“The move to Narec’s test rig provides the centrepiece for another busy year of technical development as we move closer to customer delivery. Our engineers and technology partners will verify and build on the valuable testing data from EMEC, culminating in design upgrades on the existing AR technology platform.
“We will be looking to further invest in people, partners and projects during 2012 so that we can continue to provide commercial solutions to the problems faced by our customers. This year, we will award some of our largest contracts yet to develop the current technology platform, incorporate lessons learned, collect additional field data and improve modeling techniques. We will also invest in the tidal energy supply chain, from more complex resource analysis and array interaction research through to drive train and cable management system design, nacelle monitoring, control and intervention technologies, coating technologies and subsea connection.
“It promises to be another exciting year for our business. We are focused on delivering world-leading commercial technology to our customers, founded on the principles of good science and solid engineering. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at EMEC for their professionalism and endeavour. We look forward to continuing our work there.”