Atlantis sails down to Narec's new test bench

Tidal energy developer will be the first to test device at National Renewable Energy Centre’s new drive train testing facilities

Atlantis Resources is to truck its 120-tonne tidal turbine to Newcastle’s National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) as part of a major research and development programme designed to bring the machine to market.

Tim Cornelius, Atlantis chief executive, confirmed the company will transfer its 1MW AR1000 nacelle by truck from Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to Narec’s new drive train test rig, which is on the verge of completion.

While testing the machine at EMEC last autumn, Atlantis identified a component that was limiting the amount of electricity the machine could transport to the National Grid.

However, Cornelius maintained the fault was not the main reason for taking the turbine to Narec. It will also allow the AR1000 to be monitored in various tidal cycles in a controlled environment before being transported back to EMEC for more open water testing in the summer.

“We chose Narec because we want to be able to independently test our turbine and provide all that information to our customers. It’s a perfect way to do it,” he said.

“A specific tidal turbine has to be efficient over a number of different environmental conditions and tidal flows. It’s more about investing the time in the site and letting that drive the specifications of the turbine, rather than building a generic turbine [that may not work at a specific site].”

Cornelius added that the company is “100 per cent focused” on proving the machine for the Meygen project, which could see up to 400 tidal turbines deployed in the Inner Sound, potentially generating 400MW in one of the fastest-flowing areas of the Pentland Firth by 2020.

He said the company will also be seeking to hire engineers and procurement offices this year to help further develop the technology.

Cornelius refused to disclose how much it would cost Atlantis to take the AR1000 south of the border, saying only that the company’s shareholders have committed to “a continued programme of investment” in 2012.

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