ELEMENT In-Sea Estuary Testing 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 project will demonstrate Effective Lifetime Extension in the Marine Environment for Tidal Energy (ELEMENT), driving the EU tidal energy sector to commercial reality. This grant was awarded under the call LC-SC3-RES-11-2018: Developing solutions to reduce the cost and increase performance of renewable technologies.

This document reports on work undertaken as part of work package 10 (WP10) and is submitted to satisfy deliverable D10.2 of the ELEMENT project.

The test phase allowed the turbine control system developed in the ELEMENT project to be deployed in the RE50 turbine and assessment of its performance in real world conditions. This has assisted in further development of the control system within the project and has generated vital data which will be fed into the final project testing phase, where the control system will be deployed in an existing Nova M100−D turbine installed in the Shetland Tidal Array (STA). A cabled acoustic doppler current profile (ADCP) sensor was deployed on the substructure to allow real time flow measurement in parallel to the turbine data measurement to aid performance assessment.

The test phase provided an opportunity to test a tidal turbine of this scale in a tidal estuary environment. The flow conditions and speed profile in estuarine sites is different from tidal sites located in marine headlands or channels, where the tidal stream flows between large seas or oceans surrounding the site. This report will quantify some of these differences and provide important lessons for future development of tidal estuary projects.