Offshore wave power brought onshore

Posted: 10/07/2011 in all marine news

Hydro International –

Earlier this summer, 2011, Orkney-based Scotrenewables launched their prototype floating tidal turbine, the SR250, designed to minimise the installation and maintenance costs of tidal energy compared to seabed-mounted tidal turbines.

The 33-metre long, 100 tonne SR250 is fixed to a mooring turret which is tethered to the sea floor. The construction of the turret allows the turbine to move with the direction of water movement positioning itself automatically for optimal energy capture in much the same way that windmills turn to face the oncoming wind.

Harnessing the renewable power is just one part of the process, it also needs to be exported to the grid onshore through a medium voltage cable. The Scotrenewables design, that combines a dynamic turbine mounted on a tethered turret, can put significant strains on the riser section of the export cable.

Designing the right cable and connector infrastructure system was important from the outset to ensure that power harnessed by the turbine could be reliably fed to the onshore grid. Scotrenewables chose MacArtney to provide the infrastructure for its 250kW prototype and its design is a result of close cooperation between engineers from both companies.

Infrastructure that connects dynamic systems to static cable anchoring needs to be carefully designed to reliably maintain power and signal contact as the turbine moves horizontally with the tide as well as vertically with wave movement. The SR250 turbine has a turret and a vertical swivel.

At the turret, a 6.6kV wet mate connector acts as a stab plate. As the turbine turns about this axis to face the water flow, this swivel turret holds the dynamic unit on the anchoring and the swivel ensures that the signal and power connections in the cable remain intact and prevent them from twisting during the 360° movement.

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