Magallanes, a Spain-based tidal turbine company, has successfully finished the installation of one of its “ATIR” floating turbine prototypes at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), according to recent reports.
The 1:10 scale ATIR prototype turbine was installed at the EMEC Shapinsay Sound testing site, with support coming from the EU-funded Marinet project.
The testing of the profile represents an important next step in the development process of the concept — which has been in development since back in 2007. Magallanes has already completed numerous tests of earlier prototypes in test tank and river environments.
This new testing process at EMEC is, according to Magallanes, a major step towards the toting of a full-scale prototype — something the company is looking to perform within the next year. A full-scale prototype is expected to measure about 42 meters in length and 350 tons in weight.
The company’s managing director, Alejandro Marquis de Magallanes, commented on the recent installation: “This test project allows us to demonstrate the integrity and viability of the concept and its subsystems in a real sea climate, and help inform the construction of our 2 MW floating platform to ensure a stable and optimal design.”
“One of the most important steps was to discover maintenance needs, as well as gaining operational experience at sea.”
The managing director of the contracting company — Orcades Marine Management Consultants — Captain David Thomson, stated: “As principal contractor, managing the marine operations and providing onshore support to Magallanes, we are pleased with the quick and successful deployment of the ‘ATIR’ scale tidal device. It was a real Orkney team effort with assistance provided by local companies Leask Marine and Heddle Construction.”
And, in turn, the EMEC’s client relationship manager, Eileen Linklater, noted: “There is a cluster of energy, maritime and environmental expertise around EMEC in Orkney, with an experienced supply chain providing support to projects like this. We are grateful to the Marinet project for enabling Magallanes to benefit from access to the test site. Accessible real sea testing allows marine energy developers and suppliers to learn extremely valuable lessons about working in a real sea environment more cheaply.”
The technology is an interesting one, but it still remains to be seen how much of a niche it’ll be able to carve out for itself. Many uncertainties remain, and there are many potential influencing factors that could see the commercial-viability of the technology never fully materialize, just as has happened with one marine energy technology after another.
Image Credit: Magallanes
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