Atlantis Resources Corporation, the international marine energy developer, has connected its 1MW AR1000 tidal turbine to the grid at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.
The AR1000 becomes Scotland’s first grid-connected, commercial-scale tidal turbine, marking a crucial milestone in the development of the marine energy industry.
The AR1000 is currently the world’s most powerful single-rotor tidal turbine, rated to dispatch 1MW of predictable power at a water velocity of 2.65m/s. Its 18m rotor diameter also makes it one of the largest turbines ever built, standing 22.5 meters high and weighing 1,500 tonnes. A full commissioning programme is now underway at EMEC and is expected to take three months.
The three-bladed turbine will be tested over the next two years, ahead of commercial system roll-out into the MeyGen project in Scotland’s Pentland Firth.
Neil Kermode, Managing Director of the European Marine Energy Centre, says: “It is wonderful to see this commercial-scale tidal turbine connect to the grid from Orkney waters. The marine energy industry in Scotland continues to gather pace and is working towards world-leading targets in terms of deployment and generation of renewable energy. My congratulations go to the entire team at Atlantis.”
Atlantis’ AR1000 turbine design draws heavily from development and testing of its earlier two-rotor, AK1000 turbine, which commenced in 2009. Whilst waiting for delivery of a set of standard GRP rotor blades, fabricated in the UK earlier this year, the company completed a detailed analysis of Scottish, UK and global component supply chain status for commercial production and roll-out. The decision was taken, in conjunction with customers and project partners, to deploy the nacelle in a single rotor set, AR 1000, configuration.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of Atlantis, says: “I am very proud of the team at Atlantis. They have overcome a number of considerable challenges in this development programme, fine-tuning the nacelle retrieval process at the same time. By connecting a 1MW single rotor device in Scottish waters to the national grid, they have achieved something that has never been done before. Our business enters the next phase of its evolution in great shape and I want to thank the huge ecosystem of technology partners, suppliers, contractors and industry figureheads who have supported us to date.
“Following a blade manufacturing fault in 2010, we switched suppliers and reverted to standard GRP blades. We also took the opportunity to review the entire tidal power component supply chain in conjunction with our customers and opted to focus on a turbine design that employs only proven and readily accessible components and can therefore be manufactured at scale. We will continue to invest in the AK1000 research and development programme as the supply chain matures but our customers need commercial reliability and that’s what the AR1000 system can give them today.”
Norco GRP Ltd of Poole (blades) joins a UK-dominated supply chain for the AR1000, alongside Soil Marine Dynamics in Newcastle (nacelle), Isleburn Engineering in Invergordon (gravity base structure and system assembly), Tata Steel in Scunthorpe, Wichita in Bedford (shaft brake), Pilgrim in Oldham (hub assembly), Hallin Marine (offshore services), Leask Marine in Orkney (commercial diving) and IX Survey in Edinburgh (marine survey).