ELEMENT Onshore System Test Report

Published: 12 April 2024

A Funding Grant was awarded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to develop and validate an innovative tidal turbine control system, using the tidal turbine itself as a sensor, to deliver a step change improvement in the performance. This will demonstrate Effective Lifetime Extension in the Marine Environment for Tidal Energy (ELEMENT), driving the EU tidal energy sector to commercial reality. This was in response to the call LC-SC3-RES-11-2018: Developing solutions to reduce the cost and increase performance of renewable technologies.

This document relates to work undertaken as part of Work Package 8 and is submitted to satisfy deliverable D8.1 of the ELEMENT project.

The goal of the ELEMENT project is to develop an improved tidal turbine control system that is capable of contributing to the industry aim of reducing the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of tidal power generation. The onshore testing phase of the ELEMENT project provides the first opportunity in the project to test the initial version of the improved control system on an operational turbine – the Nova RE50. The onshore testing will be followed by in-sea testing using the RE50 turbine in France, as well as transferring control system developments from the RE50 turbine to Nova’s M100-D turbines deployed and operating in the Shetland Tidal Array. As such, the onshore testing objectives are not to deliver a completed control system, but to demonstrate and prove specific aspects of the improved turbine controller. Onshore testing will also help to further define how the control system can be optimised and then tested in the subsequent testing phases of the project.

This report will outline the test setup activities, showing successful installation and commissioning of the test system. It also presents an overview and the outputs from performance testing and brake testing. Finally, the main focus of the test phase is presented where the turbine controllers are tested and compared to allow the future development work within the project to be well defined.