Scotland passes turbine test to harness tidal power

May 20, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Scotland passes turbine test to harness tidal power
Image: Andritz Hydro Hammerfest

(Phys.org) -- An underwater turbine being used for harnessing tidal power to generate electricity for homes and businesses has successfully completed its testing period in the island of Eday, one of Orkney’s northern isles. The machine marks the first to be used in Scotland’s ambitious tidal power project, with more turbines at more sites planned. Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) says that the completion of the test period is an encouraging step up in Scotland’s tidal power initiative. The turbine was lowered into position during winter storms as a test device to prove that the technology can operate efficiently in Scotland’s fast-flowing tides.

The 100 foot-high, one-megawatt Hammerfest Strom HS1000 is described as a "pre-commercial demonstrator." The heavily instrumented turbine will continue to serve as an R&D platform and is already powering homes and businesses on Eday. The turbine can be monitored from the European Marine Energy Center base there; engineers can also operate and inspect the device from Glasgow using mobile connections and on-board camera.

The HS1000 was developed by Andritz Hydro Hammerfest, as a “tidal power” turbine. As a version of a wind turbine positioned on the seabed, its blades spin in the flow of tides for generating power. A tidal turbine has shorter blades that rotate slower. The energy is converted in current directions by pitching the blades. The structure is designed as a tripod, which has a minimal footprint on the seabed and is held in place by gravity and additional ballast.

Scotland, in the context of providing leadership in renewable energy, is eagerly exploring the concept of generating from the natural movement of the tide. Scotland engineers consider it well placed to lead in projects for clean, green electricity. Scotland is said to have superior tidal power resources, with a massive amount of power in its seas. Keith Anderson, CEO of Scottish Power Renewables, said the test gives them confidence to implement larger-scale projects. A 10MW tidal power array in the Sound of Islay is planned over the next few years

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While other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power are in the news, proponents of say that it can be a significant part of the mix as it carries an advantage over other alternatives. Namely, it is predictable. With its links to the lunar cycle, tidal currents can be predicted years in advance.

A new Scottish Government report confirms Scotland's commitment to generate 100 percent of its electricity needs from renewables and to “decarbonize” the electricity-generation sector by 2030.

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User comments : 41

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la7dfa
5 / 5 (4) May 20, 2012
I am glad to see there seem to be progress, in harnessing power from the ocean currents. Making the equipment sturdy enough must be a challenge. In Norway we have the strongest salt water current in the world. I am sure it could be harnessed by using technology from the turbines used for regular hydro power. http://www.youtub...gPL--pG8
msadesign
1.5 / 5 (2) May 20, 2012
I watched the video and noticed a device labeled 'turbine' hanging below the gear box; I wonder how this works and what it adds? Anyone know?
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (6) May 20, 2012
The tidal day is slightly longer than the solar day, so the time of the tides going in and out varies from day to day and month to month. Since the consumption pattern is locked to the solar day, you sometimes get power when you need it, and sometimes when you don't need it, and everything in between.

While this behaviour is indeed predictable, it doesn't really solve the problem of what do you do when you need power but aren't getting any, and what to do when you get power but don't need any - the fundamental problem of all renewable power that aren't controllable by man.
Lurker2358
2.4 / 5 (7) May 20, 2012
We need to be tapping the Gulf Stream, as I've been saying for a couple years now.

The energy density is enormous, and it's right next to the resorts in the keys, as well as Miami. You could use that power 24/7.

A single turbine the same size in the Gulf Stream could generate between 1.5 and 2.5 megawatts of power.
NotParker
1.6 / 5 (21) May 20, 2012
De-carbonize is just another word for de-industrialize.

No more electricity on demand. You will need to schedule your usage weeks in advance. And it still won't be there.

As of this moment, the UK grid is getting .3GW of wind power out of 34GW demand.

.88%

120 billion pounds for that .88% which is sometimes even 0.

13.6 trillion pounds more and you might get power from wind 50% of the time.

http://www.gridwa...r.co.uk/
NotParker
1.3 / 5 (16) May 20, 2012
We need to be tapping the Gulf Stream, as I've been saying for a couple years now.


"The Gulf Stream is typically 100 kilometres (62 mi) wide and 800 metres (2,600 ft) to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) deep. The current velocity is fastest near the surface, with the maximum speed typically about 2.5 metres per second (5.6 mph)."

How do you plan to anchor those turbines? How much copper wiring would you need to go down 3900 feet? Or cables to anchor them near the surface?
Terriva
1.4 / 5 (10) May 20, 2012
De-carbonize is just another word for de-industrialize
Nope, when the nuclear energy, the cold fusion in particular is taken into account. But for many influential groups of people (including the majority of scientists engaged in research of alternative methods of energy production, conversion, transport and storage) it's more advantageous to pretend at public, this option simply doesn't exist at all from good reasons.
Terriva
1.4 / 5 (11) May 20, 2012
This is an example of how the cold fusion research is handled at the MIT: when some scientists becomes too successful and popular with it, then his private sponsorship is ended prematurely (even if it results to the lost of money for the whole university). This is why, I don't expect anything good from the mainstream physics by now - this lobby is worse than politicians for human society by now.
Husky
5 / 5 (3) May 20, 2012
still sitting on the fence for this one, but if they can make it work costeffective power to them, but good thing they showed the biofauling in the video, i wonder how much impact this gonna have on operations.
Terriva
3.1 / 5 (9) May 20, 2012
The HS1000 tidal turbine weight 200 tonnes and it can power 100 houses for ten-twenty years. Every house will get two tons of iron with it, not including the cost of generators, long wires and transformers. The payback period is close to life expectancy of turbines (15 - 20 years), not to say about environmental impacts. And of course, it will run at the 2.5 m/sec speed of current, which limits the availability of this energy source to the 23 - 27% of time - the rest of time you'll required the connection to grid anyway.
Husky
5 / 5 (2) May 20, 2012
still sitting on the fence for this one, but if they can make it work costeffective power to them, but good thing they showed the biofauling in the video, i wonder how much impact this gonna have on operations, antifoulingpaint/nanosurface on the blades should be considered and a underwater maintenance robot. I wonder i you could decouple the generator from the blades and instead drive a waterpump so that all waterpumps of the field of underwaterturbines combine to deliver pressured water through a pipeline to one large shore based generator, or perhaps even to a dam reservoir so that you have storage that you can convert to electricity on tap/demand.
Husky
4 / 5 (1) May 20, 2012
another option to overcome the intermittent nature that plagues wind/seapower would be to have underwater turbines in (let me check google maps for that) the Parabian Gulf and have them desalinate seawater in seatu, you can buffer that as valuable potable water.
Husky
not rated yet May 20, 2012
i bet future submarine captains take a double whisky before navigating in shallow scottish waters...I tend to agree with Terriva that a 15-20 year (best case scenario) is way to long/ unappealing, if wind/seapower is to serious contender it should be more like 5-10 years, nevertheless, while having become somewhat skeptic of windpower i still would like to see how a fully developed seaturbine project plays out/matches up in a real life situation.
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (9) May 20, 2012
We need to be tapping the Gulf Stream, as I've been saying for a couple years now.


"The Gulf Stream is typically 100 kilometres (62 mi) wide and 800 metres (2,600 ft) to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) deep. The current velocity is fastest near the surface, with the maximum speed typically about 2.5 metres per second (5.6 mph)."

How do you plan to anchor those turbines? How much copper wiring would you need to go down 3900 feet? Or cables to anchor them near the surface?


Do you even listen to yourself, NP?

Ask yourself the same question about the resources required to build, fuel, maintain, and connect to the grid a fossil fuel-powered generation facility, and it is immediately obvious how meaningless and/or irrelevant such a question is.

You will have to find some other(no doubt equally chimerical) argument against this proposal.

Husky
not rated yet May 20, 2012
gulfstream, powered by a pie in the sky, well just maybe a laddermill or some other kitecontraption
Caliban
3.2 / 5 (5) May 20, 2012
another option to overcome the intermittent nature that plagues wind/seapower would be to have underwater turbines in (let me check google maps for that) the Parabian Gulf and have them desalinate seawater in seatu, you can buffer that as valuable potable water.


BINGO!

I think that Husky has hit upon the perfect solution fo the whole "what to do with the off-peak" generating capacity" whining: use that power for desal/and/or electrolysis. Or any other process that can operate independent of a production schedule--sewage treatment, for example

NotParker
1 / 5 (8) May 20, 2012

Ask yourself the same question about the resources required to build, fuel, maintain, and connect to the grid a fossil fuel-powered generation facility, and it is immediately obvious how meaningless and/or irrelevant such a question is.


Consider a coal fired power plant or NG plant is built on land and will last 50 years and you can build it relatively near the grid or on the site of a previous power plant ....

Jotaf
3 / 5 (3) May 20, 2012
Dams can easily store energy for use in off-peak hours. They just install pumps that pull water upstream, raising the water level and essentially storing potential energy.

Contrary to what you may think it's pretty efficient, and saves a lot of energy that would otherwise go to waste. The result is a much more stable energy output over time.

Can't wait to see these turbines being ready for commercialization!
NotParker
1 / 5 (9) May 20, 2012
Dams can easily store energy for use in off-peak hours.


What if they are full? Or 1000 miles away? Or environmentalists prevent them from being built?
Nyloc
3 / 5 (1) May 20, 2012
Fishing nets could pose a serious hazard, both to the turbines and the fishermen. I wonder if they're planning on having lit buoys in the area around the installation?

Don't get me wrong ... I think this is a great idea and wish the project well!
Shabs42
4 / 5 (4) May 21, 2012
What if they are full? Or 1000 miles away? Or environmentalists prevent them from being built?


Geothermal. Boom, next question.

Seriously though, I don't understand why you're so anti-renewable energy. Solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, bio-diesel, waste recycling, and nuclear are all getting more efficient and reliable over time. Some quicker than others of course, but they're all getting better. I'm assuming that different regions will find different balances of power sources based on their own resources; so I'm happy to hear about advances in all of these areas.

Coal and natural gas facilities are also improving and I'm happy about that too. There are undoubtedly plenty of ways to use current energy sources in cleaner and more cost efficient ways. However, non-renewable resources will eventually run dry, whether you think it's in 25 years or 250. The sooner we begin preparing for that day, the less we (or our great grandchildren) will suffer when it finally comes.
NotParker
1 / 5 (15) May 21, 2012
The world has 250 years of natural gas. There is no need to squander 100s of trillions of dollars to replace natural gas power plants with wind farms that quite often produce ZERO electricity.

They've had 30 years to make wind turbines more efficient. All they've done is make them more expensive and made them require more subsidies.

Geothermal is not a form of energy storage.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.5 / 5 (8) May 21, 2012
America has already de-industrialized by moving it's manufacturing sector to China.

"De-carbonize is just another word for de-industrialize. " - ParkerTard

Poor ParkerTard. He is driven not only by stupidity, but by fear.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012
Which translates to 40 years if there is a sustained growth rate in energy production of only 3 percent per year.

"The world has 250 years of natural gas." - ParkerTard

And ParkerTard has in the past insisted that GDP is proportional to Energy Consumption.

Poor Mentally Ill ParkerTard. Even his lies don't make any sense.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012
No need if you intend to completely de-industrialize in 40 years due to an absence of fuel.

"There is no need to squander 100s of trillions of dollars to replace natural gas power plants with wind farms that quite often produce ZERO electricity." - ParkerTard

ParkerTard is mentally diseased. He needs to see a psychiatrist immediately.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012
ExRo Technologies, a startup based in Vancouver, BC, has developed a new kind of generator that's well suited to harvesting energy from wind. It could lower the cost of wind turbines while increasing their power output by 50 percent.

http://www.techno...y/21666/

"They've had 30 years to make wind turbines more efficient." - ParkerTard

Is ParkerTard even capable of learning.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.4 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012
A good argument for adding more windmills and reducing consumption through improvements in consumptive efficiency.

"As of this moment, the UK grid is getting .3GW of wind power out of 34GW demand." - ParkerTard

Caliban
4.4 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012

Ask yourself the same question about the resources required to build, fuel, maintain, and connect to the grid a fossil fuel-powered generation facility, and it is immediately obvious how meaningless and/or irrelevant such a question is.


Consider a coal fired power plant or NG plant is built on land and will last 50 years and you can build it relatively near the grid or on the site of a previous power plant ....


@NP,

Of course I am not surprised by your refusal to face facts. These tide turbines are coterminous with their power supply, which eliminates an entire operating cost sector --not to mention pollution source.

On the other hand, conventional power generation(including nuclear) require that EVERY LAST RESOURCE REQUIRED FOR THEIR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE BE PHYSICALLY BROUGHT TO THE SITE.
And this even above and beyond obtaining those resources prior to delivery to the site.

Now do you understand what was intended as a rhetorical question?

Sonhouse
5 / 5 (3) May 21, 2012
One thing I see not discussed here is the effect such devices might have on sea creatures venturing too close to the blades, like a whale or something of that nature.

There is a well known version of that dilemma: Manatees in Florida are seen with really bad cuts on their bodies by passing too close to the blades of passing power boats.

The blades of the Scottish test should have some kind of mesh around it to keep that from happening to whatever can swim by, dolphins, sharks, whales, sealions, whatever.
Pkunk_
1 / 5 (5) May 21, 2012
As of this moment, the UK grid is getting .3GW of wind power out of 34GW demand.

.88%

120 billion pounds for that .88% which is sometimes even 0.

13.6 trillion pounds more and you might get power from wind 50% of the time.

http://www.gridwa...r.co.uk/


Excellent point NotParker , Even if your figures are 50% off that still means that this "renewable" energy nonsense is being paid by the idiots who actually vote such greenies to power.
After a few years when the hoopla around Wind dies a natural death , people in UK will realize that they have paid for this trash with a reduced NHS , and other "austerity" measures. No wonder the government of Britain is going broke.
If the UK were to build just 4-5 nuclear power plants that would let them easily meet their "global warming" targets , and would cost way WAY lesser than what they're paying now for "renewable" power.
Pkunk_
1 / 5 (5) May 21, 2012
A good argument for adding more windmills and reducing consumption through improvements in consumptive efficiency.

"As of this moment, the UK grid is getting .3GW of wind power out of 34GW demand." - ParkerTard



And who will exactly pay for this Wind power which in a free market cannot survive ? More subsidies from the pockets of tax-payers?
Since Wind is doing such a miserable job of meeting demand , the demand must be met by more cost effective sources.
According to Wikipedia - "Of the nine currently operating nuclear plants in the UK, EDF Energy operates eight with a combined capacity of almost 9,000 megawatts" . Just 9 plants are generating 18 times the power of ALL wind power in the UK. And for a fraction of the cost.
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012

And who will exactly pay for this Wind power which in a free market cannot survive ? More subsidies from the pockets of tax-payers?

As oposed to the indirect subsidis having to be payed for cleaning up the environmental desaster fossil fuels create (aside from global warming related damages)? Color me hippy, but I'd rather pay taxes for subsidies that keep a sustainable environment rather than one that gives me cheap stuff which I later have to pay for doubly in cleanup costs. If you take ALL ancillariy cost into account then wind is already cheaper than al fossil fuels (and nuclear) by a long shot.

As of this moment, the UK grid is getting .3GW of wind power out of 34GW demand.

They started in 2007. Currently bringing on line about 1GW per year. That they don't have all their energy covered isn't surprising. They have only just started.
8GW already awarded and 25GW in the planning phase. So stay tuned.

mortoo
5 / 5 (5) May 21, 2012
What I find curious is that when alternative energy sources are mentioned people always criticize them for not being online all of the time. As though if it can't provide 100% of our energy needs it is useless.

I am quite happy to get energy from multiple sources.
Pkunk_
1 / 5 (5) May 21, 2012
Color me hippy, but I'd rather pay taxes for subsidies that keep a sustainable environment rather than one that gives me cheap stuff which I later have to pay for doubly in cleanup costs. If you take ALL ancillariy cost into account then wind is already cheaper than al fossil fuels (and nuclear) by a long shot.


In which form of fancy accounting is Wind power cheaper than ANY other form of power ?
http://www.dailym...ers.html
tell's the truth as it is. Any investment in Wind power requires investment in "dirty" thermal or Nuclear plants to back it up for when the wind is not blowing.

And why this whole charade of building the windmills ? So that we can "save the world" from global warming. Are you taking into account the CO2 emmisions in actually building and transporting the damn things around to where they're needed ? Minus the subsidies paid for by the public and wind power pales.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) May 21, 2012
Any investment in Wind power requires investment in "dirty" thermal or Nuclear plants to back it up for when the wind is not blowing.

Nope. It requires investment in buffering technologies. And the larger your grid the less you need of those.

Are you taking into account the CO2 emmisions in actually building and transporting the damn things around to where they're needed ?

Which are no different from those needed to produce other types of powerplants. But at an EROI of 25 to 1 that's really negligible for wind turbines. The alternative would be to blow out 24 times more CO2 with a conventional powerplant (ADDED to that used in producing that plant in the first place)

Minus the subsidies paid for by the public and wind power pales

As noted I'd rather pay subsidies for something that doesn't kill me and the environment slowly rather than for something that does (you think coal and nnuclear don't get subsidies? Think again.)
perrycomo
1.1 / 5 (8) May 21, 2012
This is really a waste of money . Yesterday i read that in the Netherlands 1 kw from solar cells on your roof is cheaper then buying 1 kw from the grid . Prices of solar cells are falling falling and falling and will keep falling to lower levels . . Every one with a little bit of brain activity can understand that there is no doubt what so ever that solar cells will be the winner of the energy harvesting race .
Vendicar_Decarian
4.4 / 5 (9) May 21, 2012
Then they have stored enough energy.

"What if they (the dams) are full?" - ParkerTard

What a moron.

wwqq
2.7 / 5 (6) May 21, 2012
Vendicar, efficiency is a wonderful thing; but what it is not is a way to save energy.

LCDs and plasmas are a good factor of two more efficient than CRTs. Did power consumption fall drastically when we made the switch? Nope, we just got bigger displays.

Did power consumption fall when refrigeration technology became more efficient? Refrigerators went from a rich mans toy to something everyone and their dog had. Then everyone bought a freezer. Then there was this wast proliferation of air conditioning. Then the width of the average freezer grew asymptotically to the width of the kitchen door so that you can just barely squeeze it in.

CPUs are what, a million times more efficient than 3 decades ago? Do they use less power? No, they use about a factor of 10 more, and we've added a graphics card that can pull a couple of hundred watts on the high end.
wwqq
2.7 / 5 (6) May 21, 2012
Then they have stored enough energy.


Why do peaker plants exist at all?

Because transmission is expensive and the hydropower is not where the people are. Because storage capacity in water reservoirs is limited.
NotParker
1 / 5 (7) May 21, 2012
Then they have stored enough energy.

"What if they (the dams) are full?" - ParkerTard

What a moron.



"Lake Roosevelt is a working reservoir. It is the main storage reservoir on the Columbia River for the United States. The reservoir is lowered in the spring, to make room for the spring runoff. This prevents flooding on the lower Columbia River. The water that enters Lake Roosevelt during the spring is stored in the lake and is used later in the year for power generation and to enhance river flows downstream for endangered species of fish when flows on the Columbia River drop later in the summer and fall."

http://www.usbr.g...dex.html

People should have a read. Quite interesting. And well beyond the ability of the childish VD to understand.
Jonseer
1 / 5 (2) May 26, 2012
wwqq
do you know what "to conflate" means? If not you should look it up.

In conflating disparate factors to make your irrational point you are making yourself looking silly.

[b]Efficiency is a great way to save energy ALL THINGS being equal.
[/b]
Your examples are so grossly Unequal they are 100% false.

[b]To make a LOGICAL and RATIONAL comparison you need to compare like to like as in-
[i]
How much energy would we be using IF WE continued to use the older devices vs. a vs. using the NEWER ones IN THE SAME QUANTITIES!
[/i][/b]
The answer is the savings are tremendous across the board.

[b]For u to be right increases in energy use would [i]HAVE TO BE THE RESULT OF NOT IN SPITE OF [/i]Increasing efficiency per your examples[/b]

The increase in energy use IS due to economic growth/rise in living standards.

If it weren't for efficiency, energy use would be many times higher.

For THAT REASON ALONE, the rest of your points fail as well. Efficiency does not dictate its us