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Marine test center EMEC completes expansion

Orkney-based EMEC (the European Marine Energy Centre), a testing complex for commercial-scale wave and tidal energy devices, has completed an expansion project. This expansion increased its suite of test sites from nine to 12.

Two tidal berths have been added to make seven, and a fifth wave power test berth has been created, EMEC reports.

Tidal developers Atlantis Resources Corp. and Voith Hydro Ocean Current Technologies are among the firms that are installing turbine prototypes on the new tidal berths. Atlantis completed its installation in September 2010 (for more on this development, see “Atlantis deploys tidal turbine at European Marine Energy Centre,” on page 42).

The £5 million ($7.75 million) expansion, involving laying more than 2 miles (3.2 km) of subsea cabling, comes just three months after it identified some wave and tidal “nursery sites.” EMEC plans to develop these sites to meet international demand from businesses with smaller prototypes, plugging the gap between test tanks and full ocean conditions.

Since its inception in 2004, EMEC has attracted 11 device developers, including Pelamis Wave Power, Aquamarine Power, OpenHydro, and Tidal Generation Ltd.

Funding from the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change allowed creation of the new test berths, EMEC says.

UK’s Wave Hub installed off Cornish coast

Wave Hub, a grid-connected socket off the coast of Cornwall, England, has been installed on the seabed. The deployment followed a delicate operation to lower the 12 ton hub into 55 meters of water 16 km offshore, developer South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) says.

Arrays of wave power devices can be connected to this socket and their performance evaluated.

The £42 million (US$64.7 million) project has been developed by South West RDA and is a cornerstone of its strategy to develop a world class marine energy industry in South West England.

Wave Hub is being funded with £12.5 million (US$19.2 million) from South West RDA, £20 million ($30.8 million) from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme and £9.5 ($14.6 million) million from the UK government.

The 1,300 ton, 25 km-long subsea cable connecting the project to the onshore transmission grid was manufactured by JDR Cable Systems in Hartlepool and was installed earlier this year. CTC Marine Projects in Darlington, County Durham, was appointed by South West RDA to install Wave Hub on the seabed.

Wave Hub is scheduled for a summer 2011 deployment.

Technology Strategy Board to fund marine energy devices

Funds to advance deployment of pre-commercial full-scale wave and tidal stream energy generating devices are to be provided by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

A public body established by the UK government to promote and support research, development, and exploitation of technology and innovation to benefit UK business and increase economic growth, TSB is expected to make £9 million (US$13.9 million) in awards soon following a previous competition, which closed in April 2010. That funding is for innovative collaboration, research, development, and demonstration of wave and tidal stream technologies.

Opening its latest competition in September 2010 for £3 million ($4.6 million) to advance deployment of pre-commercial full-scale marine energy devices, this round targets devices that are already installed and operating in the sea. It thus focuses of projects which are seeking to progress rapidly toward support by the Carbon Trust’s Marine Renewables Proving Fund and full-scale deployment.

The awards are to invest in collaborative projects that last up to 18 months and require public sector funding of £250,000 - £1 million ($383,680 - $1.53 million). Projects can include applied research and development, attracting 50% public funding; experimental development, attracting 25% public funding; or a combination of both.

The competition is open to wave and tidal stream device manufacturers and to collaborations that will develop the UK supply chain and the skills necessary to deploy the technologies. Non-UK-based businesses are eligible to participate in consortia, but not as lead partners.

The awards are to support projects that address the following challenges:

- Achieving continuous operation and the performance required to win support of the Marine Renewables Proving Fund;
- Installation, operation, maintenance, and retrieval methods for full-scale devices;
- Collation and analysis of data, and verification of performance in real sea conditions;
- Supply chain development; and,
- Environmental issues.

Winning applicants are due to be announced November 19.

Hammerfest Strom awards tidal turbine construction contracts

Norway-based developer Hammerfest Strom AS has announced contracts worth £4 million (US$6.2 million) to construct the first of its advanced HS1000 tidal power turbines in Scotland.

Fife-based Burntisland Fabrication Limited (BiFab) has been awarded the largest single contract for the fabrication of the substructure for the 1 MW turbine, which is expected be installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney next year.

ScottishPower Renewables, a major shareholder in Hammerfest Strom, has already submitted a planning application to install an array of 10 HS1000 machines in the Sound of Islay on the west coast of Scotland. Beyond this, ScottishPower is developing a 95-turbine project at Ness of Duncansbay in the Pentland Firth as part of The Crown Estate’s first marine energy leasing round. The company confirmed that it will be entering this project into the Scottish Government’s £10 million ($12.7 million) Saltire Prize for marine energy innovation.

In related news, International technology group Andritz has acquired a 33.3% stake in Hammerfest Strom, including its Scotland-based subsidiary, Hammerfest Strom UK Ltd, by means of a capital increase, Andritz Hydro reported.

International group Statoil, Norwegian utility Hammerfest Energi, and Spanish utility Iberdrola are the other main shareholders in Hammerfest Strom.

Atlantis deploys tidal turbine at European Marine Energy Centre

Marine developer Atlantis Resources Corporation has deployed its AK1000 tidal turbine at a subsea berth at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland.

With a capacity of 1 MW, the AK1000 is designed for harsh weather and rough, open ocean environments, such as those found off the Scottish coast, Atlantis says. The turbine has an 18 meter rotor diameter, weighs 130 tons and is 22.5 meters high. Its designers say it is expected to be environmentally benign due to a low rotation speed while in operation.

Electrical connection to the power export cable, recently laid by EMEC at its facility, is due as HRW goes to press. Atlantis has established a dedicated control center on the Island of Eday from which the AK1000 turbine can be controlled and monitored.

The AK1000 nacelle was fabricated by Soil Marine Dynamics in Newcastle, England, and the gravity base structure and system assembly was completed by Isleburn Engineering, a member of the Aberdeen, Scotland-based Global Energy Group. Steel for the turbine came from Corus’ Scunthorpe facility.

Lako hydrokinetic turbine nears final testing phase

A new hydrokinetic turbine is approaching its final testing phase, its developers have reported.

The Lako Variable Turbine, or LakoVT, is intended to utilize run-of-river locations. Developers Lako Power Limited have already commissioned an initial feasibility study at a UK university, and the patent-pending technology has been tested in water, leading to the third and final stage, flume testing. The unit will be available in capacities from 25 kW to 500 kW.

Alan Girvan, the inventor and managing director of Lako Power Limited, said, “The actual tests in water of a small prototype showed great promise, and the flume testing will be a valuable tool in corroborating the results of the initial university study. Following the data from this last stage, we expect to conduct optimization and, shortly after that, produce devices for sale.”

For more ocean/tidal/stream news, see the Hydro Project Activity tab at HydroWorld.com

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