SKF technology has a bearing on the development of tidal energy
Posted on 06 Jun 2021 and read 468 times
Strong currents arise where the ebb and flow of tide squeeze between islands, such as off the Orkney Islands, which is why experiments with tidal current power plants have been carried out there for several years — specifically at the European Marine Energy Centre
Today, EMEC is Europe’s leading test site for tidal and wave energy projects. Orbital Marine Power
, Scottish-based developers of floating tidal turbine technology, has now launched its first commercial 2MW unit, the Orbital O2, which will soon be installed at EMEC and it will soon be the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine.
About 15m below the O2’s 72m-long superstructure are two fully integrated drive trains — from SKF — on two wing-like legs. Here the two double-bladed rotors, each 20m in diameter, generate electricity that is conducted ashore via a submarine cable, where it can be fed directly into the grid, stored or processed into ‘green hydrogen’. SKF
delivered the complete and fully integrated drive train as a ‘plug and play module’. Within the Orbital O2 drive trains, SKF’s ‘core competence’ is found not only in the main bearings and in the slewing bearings for pitching the rotor blades but also in the seawater seals of the main shafts between the rotor hub and the nacelle housing. SKF also provided the ‘CoMo’ condition monitoring for the entire system.
In its current offshore strategy, the EU Commission is aiming for 40GW of ocean energy by 2050 — generated in wave or tidal power plants, floating photovoltaic systems or by using algae to produce biofuels.
The Orbital technology has been under continuous engineering development, including rigorous testing of scaled systems in both tank conditions and open ocean environments, since the company was founded in 2002. It currently employs 32 staff and has offices in Orkney and Edinburgh.