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World's Largest Tidal Turbine Unveiled

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 8/16/2010

The world’s largest tidal turbine was unveiled today (12/8/2010) at Invergordon, before being transported to the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney where it will be connected to the Island grid. It has a power output 1MW and is designed to achieve this in an underwater current of 2.65 m/s.

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    Introduction to The World’s Largest Tidal Turbine

    Tidal energy is a clean, renewable, reliable and predictable means of producing electricity from a marine source. The AK1000 tidal turbine was assembled at Invergordon in Scotland and loaded onto a barge for transportation to Orkney.

    It has a capacity of 1MW which will be produced by predictable tidal current renewable energy. It is due to be installed on the seabed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, where it will connect to the Island Grid System.

    This is an article on marine renewable energy, examining the world's largest tidal turbine, its installation and connection to the grid. We begin then with an overview of the turbine's properties.

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    Overview of the AK1000 Tidal Turbine

    The AK1000 turbine statistics are as follows:

    • Height – 22.5 Meters.
    • Weight – 1300 Tons.
    • Rotor Diameter – 18 Meters.
    • Power Output – 1MW.
    • Current Velocity - 2.65 m/s.
    • Rotors – the two rotors have fixed blades.
    • Installation - device installed on the seabed and fixed with piles.
    • Turbine Mountings - mounted on crossbeam of vertical column.

    Reference Web: atlantisresources - statistics of AK1000.

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    Installation and Operational Characteristics of the AK1000 Tidal Turbine

    • Preparation of the location.

    The AK1000 Tidal Turbine device will be installed on the seabed in a specially prepared location at the European Marine Energy Centre base off Orkney under the Pentland Firth. This Firth is a channel between Orkney Island and the Scottish most Northern Coast, noted for its strong tidal currents that will adequately supply even this large tidal energy turbine.

    Here the seabed surface on which the bottom of the device support will rest has been prepared and leveled, where a subsea cable junction box with the shoreside supply cables connected is also installed on the seabed, ready to connect the turbine output power cables.

    • Installation

    The the AK1000 weighing 1300 tons will be lifted from the deck of the transport barge and lowered onto down onto the prepared seabed location. Once on the seabed, its exact orientation and levelness will be checked by ROV's and/or divers and adjustments made if required.

    Once this is confirmed and approved, the piles will be inserted in the pile guides and hammered into the seabed rock, using a pneumatic or hydraulic pile-driver. The piles are then grouted by injection of concrete into the hollow piles and the gap between the pile and pile guides.

    • Commissioning

    The device is now handed over to the commissioning engineers who will connect the electrics, then set in motion the rotor that is facing the direction of the tidal current.

    • Operation

    When operating, the innovative design of the twin rotors mean that the nacelle does not have to rotate into the tidal current as the tides turn.

    This is achieved by the blades on both rotors being fixed to turn only in the direction of the current, the nacelles remaining stationary on their support beam.

    The power produced by the generators will be transmitted through subsea cables into a sub-station ashore, from where it will be distributed to the Island Grid.

    Reference Webs:

    1. atlantisresources - location
    2. atlantisresources- AK1000 showing twin rotors.
    3. atlanticresources - AK1000 design
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    Sketch of AK1000 Installed on Seabed

    Atlantis AX1000 - Authors Impression