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Tidal energy turbine in UK testing facility first

Atlantis completes first tidal energy testing programme at NAREC drivetrain facility

Atlantis’s tidal technology has been tested at NAREC’s latest facility

A UK marine energy firm has completed the first tidal turbine testing programme at a new drivetrain testing at the National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC). Firm Atlantis finished tests on its AR1000 tidal turbine at NAREC’s 3MW capacity, onshore, turbine drivetrain testing facility in Northumberland.

The facility is designed specifically for tidal energy devices. In two weeks of full testing on the AR1000 turbine, the international marine energy developer has secured performance data equivalent to four months of tidal exchanges. 

Working closely with Narec colleagues, Atlantis’ engineers ran a series of tests designed to yield data on drivetrain efficiency, control system validation and the analysis of the thermal properties of major components under full electrical load. 

Narec’s controlled testing environment allowed the team to study turbine performance under a demanding, simulated offshore operating conditions, accruing a wealth of data in a short space of time.

Tim Cornelius, CEO at Atlantis, said: “We’ve learned an awful lot about the AR1000 turbine as a result of this testing programme. Most importantly, the solid performance of the turbine in tough, simulated offshore conditions has given our engineering team confidence in the performance, integrity and reliability of the AR1000 turbine system. 

“Narec testing is an important step in our engineering process. Our team and all of our technology contractors will now take time to review and digest the data collected, which will feed into future design considerations. As we move towards customer delivery, we plan to continue to invest in both onshore and offshore testing,” he added.

Tony Quinn, operations director at Narec, said: “I am really pleased with the success of our first drivetrain test in the new Nautilus facility, which has delivered the mission-critical information it was designed for. Accelerated life tests, conducted from the relative sanctuary of an onshore test facility, will significantly advance the development cycle for tidal turbines and give developers in the UK a real edge as the marine energy industry approaches commercialisation. 

“We thank Atlantis for being the first on the rig and look forward to working with its engineers again in due course, as well as welcoming many others from across the industry to our facility,” he added.  “The gauntlet has been thrown.”