UK-based Nautricity has deployed its first commercial scale contra rotating marine turbine (CoRMaT) tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Shapinsay Sound test site , in Orkney.
The turbine was installed at the centre in Orkney this week after an extensive round of investment and up-scaling.
The company has spent 18 months developing its first commercial scale device, which has a rotor span of 10m, and is significantly bigger than early test models.
Using a £250,000 Smart Scotland grant from Scottish Enterprise, Nautricity has developed and patented a tethered based mooring system, known as HydroBuoy that ensures the CoRMaT devices remain steady in strong currents.
Nautricity co-founder and CEO Cameron Johnstone said that testing the device at full-scale in real-life conditions was an important move and this proceeds to full commercial deployment.
Johnstone said, "Once we have demonstrated the technology here and shown that it can provide affordable electricity, we will then build out to multi-megawatt arrays at home and overseas. In order to be able to compete abroad in the future, it’s essential that we have a robust, indigenous market from which to launch our international business development.
"We believe we are doing all of the right things in developing lower cost, next-generation technology, through our progressive testing program and gathering the data to ensure that we are taking to market a product that works and can compete with other forms of energy generation."
The CoRMaT technology is a lighter and more compact device, tethered to the seabed and held in tension by a sub-surface float.
Nautricity said that its latest technology uses a novel, contra-rotating rotor system to cost-effectively harness tidal energy.
The turbines can be deployed in depths of up to 500m and, because they are closely spaced and contra-rotating rotors move in opposite directions, they remain steady in the face of strong tidal flows.
Image: Nautricity deploys full scale tidal turbine in UK. Photo: courtesy of European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).