Established in 2005, Dublin-based OpenHydro designs and manufactures marine turbines to generate renewable energy from tidal streams.
OpenHydro was the first developer to use the tidal test site at the Fall of Warness off the island of Eday when its test rig and 250kW open centred turbine were installed in 2006. The device was the first tidal turbine to be grid connected in Scotland and subsequently the first to successfully generate electricity to the national grid in the UK.
The test rig consists of two steel monopoles grouted into sockets drilled into the seabed, with a platform suspended from the piles to provide a working area. The turbine, which is six metres in diameter, is fixed to the piles using two steel collars, which allow the unit to be lowered into the sea using two 15 tonne hydraulic winches. The test rig allows for the turbine to be raised out of the water easily, reducing the cost and time for testing, maintaining and updating the device.
To aid navigation, the test rig is painted yellow and yellow light (solar powered) is fitted in accordance with NLB requirements. The platform is also equipped with an AIS transponder.
As the Open-Centre Turbine is designed to be deployed directly on the seabed using a gravity base, OpenHydro placed a blank, non-grid connected turbine on the seabed adjoining their test rig using the specially commissioned “OpenHydro Installer” in summer 2008. When commercially deployed the machines will be invisible from the surface.
OpenHydro has already commercially deployed a device in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia and is currently progressing with a tidal array project in Brittany, France aiming to deploy four 16m tidal turbines.
However, testing continues at EMEC as OpenHydro continue to bring subsequent generations of their device for testing on their test rig. Their 7th generation 6m diameter turbine was installed in their test rig in April 2014.