Tidal Energy Generation

Generating electrical power from tidal streams can present the turbine designer with some unique challenges. These can include: very high axial thrust, large variation in water velocity across the diameter of the rotor and highly turbulent flow. Real time, accurate information of the in-service loads is therefore of great importance both for optimising design, quantifying fatigue loading of blades and bearings, and for long-term structural health monitoring. The combination of high fatigue loading and sub-sea operation means that fibre-optic sensing is probably the only technology capable of providing cost effective and reliable long term strain monitoring in this type of application.

Epsilon Optics has accumulated a significant track record of successful installations for tidal energy customers including ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest Strom, Tidal Energy Ltd., Orbital Marine Power (formerly Scotrenewables) and many others.

Tidal Turbine Illustration
Key Benefits

Blade monitoring

  • Verification of design loads
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  • Real-time monitoring
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  • Long term structural health monitoring
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  • Impact and damage detection
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Tidal Energy

Orbital Marine Power

 

 

Epsilon Optics provided extensive fibre-optic sensing for Orbital Marine Power’s (formerly Scotrenewables) SR2000 tidal turbine. The 2MW turbine was successfully deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) from October 2016 to September 2018. The fibre-optic system operated reliably for the full duration of the deployment, providing real-time high resolution measurement data on blade loadings and rotor torques which was then streamed ashore for monitoring and subsequent analysis.

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Tidal Energy

Hammerfest Strom

 

 

Epsilon Optics provided Andritz Hydro Hammerfest Strom with a fibre-optics sensing system to measure the strain in the blades of their HS1000 turbine. The 1MW turbine was installed in December 2011 at the Falls of Warness, in the Orkney Isles, UK. It is considered one of Europe’s roughest waters and began exporting power to the grid in February 2012. The fibre-optic sensing system streamed live strain data ashore for the entire operational period of the turbine, allowing real-time monitoring and subsequent analysis of blade loads and performance.

Craig Love of Andritz Hydro Hammerfest commented:

 

 

"We have been delighted with the performance of the fibre strain monitoring system provided by Epsilon Optics. The system operated flawlessly for the entirety of the 3.5 years our prototype turbine was deployed. We were particularly impressed by the robustness of the fibre and connector design in what is an extreme environment combining seawater and rotation with no opportunity for unplanned maintenance".

Tidal Energy
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Tidal Energy

Schottel/Sustainable Marine Energy

 

 

Epsilon Optics worked closely with Schottel, initially providing strain sensing for monitoring of turbine blade loading and deformation during the blade development phase and then later retrofitting sensors to the tidal energy turbine at Connel, Scotland for in-service performance monitoring of the carbon composite blades. The system was successfully manufactured installed and commissioned at very short notice and despite some extreme adverse weather conditions onsite at the time.

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Tidal Energy

Tidal Energy Limited

 

 

The Tidal Energy Ltd’s Deltastream turbine was deployed at Ramsey Sound, Pembrokeshire, UK in December 2015. Epsilon Optics designed and installed an extensive fibre-optic sensing system to continuously monitor the operational loads on the turbine rotor and the base structure. This comprised of two interrogators in sub-sea enclosures and over 50 strain sensors to monitor the turbine blades and critical parts of the base structure including the pintle and rock-feet.

 
Design and implementation of complete fibre optic sensing solutions