Faulty blades have caused the temporary suspension of a tidal turbine trial off the north coast of Scotland.
Singapore-based blade manufacturer Tempco Manufacturing has admitted that a composite failure caused the fault on developer Atlantis Resources’ AK1000 tidal turbine.
Atlantis confirmed that the blades had been too weak for the trial of this pre-commercial prototype 1MW tidal turbine.
The turbine has a gravity base that sits on the rock seabed. “Once the tidal turbine was in the water, the sensors indicated that they were not up to it to task,” said an Atlantis spokesman.
He added that the design and most of the operational elements of the turbine – such as its motor – are unaffected.
Atlantis would not confirm the materials used for the original prototype blades.
Carbon fibre option
However, it is now seeking to use carbon fibre blades, which are stronger but more expensive than the bespoke composite model currently used. Once it has appointed a newmanufacturer, Atlantis will still have to wait for a suitable window to replace the turbine. The delay is likely to be three months. The structure was originally installed in August.
Despite Tempco’s admission, Atlantis will fund the additional costs by resourcing the blades for a second time.
The fault was detected prior to the blades being spun and before it was connected up to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.
The rest of the trial – the deployment of the gravity base and the nacelle (turbine housing) – has been successful.
Atlantis said that teething problems are not uncommon in prototype models such as this and remain confident that the EMEC trail will be successful.
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