Tidal energy developer Nautricity has deployed the first of its Contra Rotating Marine Turbine (CoRMaT) units at the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland, moving the technology one step closer toward commercial viability.
The units use two contra-rotating rotors to drive an electrical generator, the Glasgow-based company said, effectively doubling the relative rotational speed compared with single-rotor turbines.
The CoRMaT units will be tethered to Nautricity's "HydroBuoy" mooring system, which was developed using a US$421 million Smart Scotland grant from Scottish Enterprises. The buoy is shaped like an aircraft wing and allows the turbine units to steady in strong currents.
The unit deployed at EMEC is significantly larger than previous test models, Nautricity said, and has a rotor diameter of about 10 meters. Testing in real-world conditions will provide valuable testing opportunities as the company moves toward commercializing the turbines.
"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," co-founder and CEO Cameron Johnstone said. "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."
Nautricity was selected as a finalist for Newcomer of the Year at the 4th International Tidal Energy Summit in 2010.
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