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MCT gains 18 years of performance data
A multi-axis onshore endurance test programme in the United Kingdom has secured performance data equivalent to over 18 years of operation in some of the world’s harshest tidal cycles.
By K.Steiner-Dicks on Jun 18, 2014
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s (ORE Catapult) and the UKs National Renewable Energy Centre (the companies merged in April 2014) have completed a multi-axis onshore endurance test programme securing performance data equivalent to over 18 years of operation in some of the world’s harshest tidal cycles.
The testing was conducted on Siemens-owned Marine Current Turbines’ (MCT) first 1MW powertrain (gearbox, generator and power conditioning equipment) using the 3MW tidal turbine drive train testing facility.
During the 11 month test programme the 1MW turbine was exposed to the full range of power output and aggressive loadings the device would experience subsea, securing performance data equivalent to over 18 years of operation in some of the world’s harshest tidal cycles.
Working together, the technical teams conducted a complete range of tests on the power train and its key components including the gearbox, power electronics and grid connection, in a controlled environment simulating the thrust and oscillating torque of extreme sea conditions. This type of testing was essential to understand how the whole system would be expected to perform in real offshore conditions before first array deployment.
Sven Stoye, Chief Executive Officer, MCT said, “In demonstrating an equivalent life in excess of 18 years we have completed another industry first. Together with over six years successful deployment of SeaGen in Strangford Lough and over 9GWh of electricity generation, we are confident that the technology planned for the Skerries in 2016 will be world-class.”
Tony Quinn, Operations Director, ORE Catapult said, “This has been a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved, and has provided important information to aid our knowledge and understanding of the capabilities of the 3MW test facility.
Quinn said that for the first time, those involved have been able to utilise the Force Actuation System (FAS) to perform accelerated lifecycle tests. “Proving the performance and efficiency of the technology is pivotal in helping the tidal stream industry to gain substantial confidence in new marine energy devices and spearhead the industry’s expansion,” he said.
In other NAREC news, the centre has recently taken on three apprentices with the help of Northumberland College. The apprentices will undertake a three year apprenticeship framework and when qualified will be multi-skilled technicians involved in the delivery of test pieces such as wind turbine blades, drivetrains and marine energy devices.