Alstom’s tidal turbine reaches 1MW in offshore conditions

10MWh of electricity generated in actual operating conditions

From its immersion in January 2013, at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, Alstom’s full-scale tidal device has reached the full nominal power of 1MW after a series of gradual increases in power. The turbine connected to the grid has now generated over 10MWh of electricity, in actual operating conditions. Both are major milestones in the development of the tidal stream energy.

The tidal turbine has been tested in different operational conditions through the ReDAPT1 testing program. It has shown a reliability and performance in line with its design models.  The next step of the testing program will be to demonstrate the full range of autonomous running capabilities of the turbine (its ability to efficiently operate independently), continue with the planned maintenance and gather evidence for certification. The endurance and reliability will also be tested into 2014. Tests in pilot farms will follow prior to the start of full commercial production.

Alstom Ocean business Vice-President Rob Stevenson. said, “We are enthusiastic following the initial tests of our tidal stream turbine which successfully demonstrated the advantages of Alstom tidal turbine technology, in the challenging environment of the Fall of Warness in Orkney“.

Alstom’s tidal turbine has a 22 metres long nacelle and weighs 150 tonnes. Its rotor has three pitchable blades and a diameter of 18 meters. The tidal turbine is capable of floating. Buoyancy enables the turbine nacelle to be easily towed to and from the point of operation and attached to its pre-installed foundation. Avoiding the need for specialist vessels and divers, this particular technical feature minimises installation and maintenance costs and reduces the timeframe to install or retrieve the turbine. The unit operates fully submerged with no surface piercing part, in a water depth of about 40 meters. The nacelle can rotate around vertical axis to face the incoming tide at an optimal angle, and thus extract the maximum energy potential.

Alstrom 1MW tidal turbine



One Response to “Alstom’s tidal turbine reaches 1MW in offshore conditions”

  • Fred:

    Not knowing much about tidal turbines I was impressed by the sheer size (150tons) and complexity of Alstom’s submersible turbine until I realised that this monster of a machine produces only 1MW of electricity which is a piddling amount (for an undisclosed capital cost). I googled diesel/natural gas generators and was surprised to see that a diesel /natural generator producing 25MW could fit onto the back of an articulated lorry. It also seems that a small gas fired generating plant producing 400MW (58% capacity)would occupy an area about the size of a couple of football fields. Alstom’s machine would I suppose have to be fixed to the sea bed on a massive concrete plinth and cabling brought from each machine to shore. It would take 400 of these machines to produce the same power as small CCGT plant and they would have to operate in an environment extremely hostile to machinery the servicing of which would be a major operation. Given the alternatives is this a sensible way forward?

Leave a Reply