A floating tidal turbine has smashed generation records in Scotland, matching the generation capacity of offshore wind turbines. The SR2000, designed by Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is the world’s largest and most powerful tidal device.
The machine is currently undergoing grid-connected testing, which saw it generate 18 MWh over a 24-hour period. This represents a serious step forward for tidal energy, which could soon become a viable renewable technology.
The SR2000 is the culmination of years of design. The company behind the turbine, Scotrenewables Tidal Power, is based in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland and has spent 12 years developing the device, aiming to create a low-cost generator with financial backing from the Scottish government and a number of private investors.
The turbine is composed of a floating hull, with two turbines on the lower half of the body which sit just below the sea surface, the prime position for harnessing the energy of tidal flows. The turbines are also designed to fold upwards into the hull of the generator, which reduces transportation costs.
The machine has been designed to perform in areas with fast tidal flows, such as Scotland and Canada, but can be calibrated to perform in areas with softer breaks.
The machine is undergoing testing in the Orkney Islands, Also home to the European Marine Energy Centre, which operates state-of-the-art testing facilities for tidal and wave energy installations.
This, combined with the natural tidal currents around the archipelago and its connection to the Scottish electrical grid, make the Orkneys particularly suited to the tidal energy industry.
By working alongside the EMEC, Scotrenewables is hopeful that it can establish the SR2000 as the hallmark technology in the tidal energy industry. Tidal energy is an underused resource, and estimates indicate that globally it could generate as much as 160 TWh per year.
In the UK alone, there are more than 30 areas where tidal generators could contribute to the UK’s energy mix; internationally, there are dozens of countries where tidal energy is viable.
With more than a decade of research and development behind the project, the Scotrenewables floating turbine is at the cutting edge of tidal technology and is showing promise for the industry in the years ahead. Read more about the project by visiting their website.
The SR2000 in numbers
Weight: 500 tonnes
Length: 64 metres
Rotor Diameter: 16 meters
Rotor Speed: 16 rpm
Rated Power: 2 MW