Orbital Marine Power
Orbital Marine Power Ltd (formerly Scotrenewables) is an innovative Scottish engineering company focused on the development of tidal energy turbine technology with the potential to produce a step-change reduction in the cost of energy from tidal currents. The company currently employs over 20 staff with offices in Orkney and Edinburgh.
Orbital’s technology is a unique floating tidal turbine designed to provide a low cost solution for simplified and safe manufacture, installation, access and maintenance along with the ability to use low cost, small workboats for all offshore operations. The device hosts two propellers which fold up while being towed.
The technology has been under continuous engineering development, including rigorous testing of scaled systems in both tank conditions and open ocean environments since the company was founded in Orkney in 2002.
Three iterations of Orbital’s technology have been tested at EMEC so far: the SR250; the SR2000; and the O2. Further details on each can be found below.
In 2012 the company achieved a world first when it exported power to the UK grid from its 250kW floating scale model, the SR250, at EMEC’s grid-connected tidal test site at the Fall of Warness. The 250kW device, measuring 33m long, was constructed at Harland & Wolff in Belfast in 2010 and weighs 100 tonnes. Initial tests involved short-term deployments of the device on its moorings followed by disconnection and towing back to harbour for inspection. The testing programme was undertaken in incremental stages, culminating in a three-month period of continuous grid-connected operation at the end of 2012.
Building on the success of SR250, Orbital developed the SR2000, a larger 63 m, 500 tonne, 2 MW ‘commercial scale’ turbine more suited for tidal array deployment.
The SR2000 arrived in Orkney in June 2016, and was first deployed at EMEC’s tidal test site in October 2016. The SR2000 project was supported by Scottish Enterprise’s WATERS II scheme along with investments from Scotrenewables’ shareholders which include ABB, DP Energy, Fred Olsen, Total and Scottish Government via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF). The testing programme at EMEC was also supported via the FORESEA Interreg-NWE funded project.
At a rated capacity of 2 MW the SR2000 was the world’s most powerful tidal turbine. In early commissioning it reached a peak of 2.24MW export power at the EMEC substation.
During its test programme the SR2000 achieved the following milestones:
- In 12 months of continuous generation into the Orkney grid the prototype turbine exported over 3 GWh of renewable electricity.
- The entire project lifecycle of the SR2000 through construction, installation, operation and decommissioning was completed with small workboats or lighter. No heavy lift or large anchor handling vessels were used.
- At times SR2000 was measured to have been meeting around 25% of total electricity demand of the Orkney Islands.
- During the period of a measured full week of generation the SR2000 provided almost 8% of total electricity demand of the Orkney Islands.
- At times output from the turbine was being used by EMEC to generate hydrogen for use in displacing fossil fuel-based usage on the Orkney Islands.
- The SR2000 maintained rated power in seas of 2 m significant wave height and maintained generation is seas of 3. 5m significant wave height. The largest wave the turbine withstood was >6 m. The SR2000 saw instantaneous power generations of over 100 kW from wave power alone.
- The quickest maintenance intervention time demonstrated by the Orbital operational team was under 40 minutes from quayside to turbine.
The SR1-2000 was removed from site in September 2018 to make way for the build and installation of their optimised 2MW floating tidal turbine, the Orbital O2, due to be installed at EMEC in 2021.
The Orbital O2 2 MW turbine comprises of a 72m-long floating superstructure, supporting two 1 MW turbines on either side. The rotors span 600 sqm, the largest ever on a tidal generator.
75% of the supply chain for the O2 device is based in the UK. The O2 was built at Texo in Dundee.
The device was towed to Orkney in April 2021, and has been operating at EMEC’s Fall of Warness test site since July 2021.
Horizon 2020 FloTEC project
The O2 includes an optimised superstructure design, 50% greater energy capture through increased rotor swept area, lower cost fabrication and maintenance strategies, compatibility with the local supply chain and infrastructure and mooring load dampers.
Leveraging £7m Horizon 2020 funding, Orbital are leading an industrial consortium comprising of the most experienced and committed commercial, industrial and research organisations involved in tidal energy today: DP Energy; Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries; the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC); ABB Ltd; EireComposites; Technology from Ideas; University College Cork; EDF Energy and SKF, to optimise the O2 under the FloTEC (Floating Tidal Energy Commercialisation) project.
EMEC will undertake an independent performance assessment which will provide evidence of the enhancements that have been made to the O2, de-risking the technology and improving investor confidence and supporting the technology towards commercialisation. Additionally, EMEC will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts associated with the deployment, which will feed into a broader assessment, considering wider impact issues such as fisheries, coastal and sedimentary geology processes, cultural heritage, socioeconomics and aesthetic impact.
Interreg North-West Europe ITEG project
The construction of the moorings and actuation system of Orbital’s second generation tidal turbine, Orbital 2MW, is funded by the Interreg North-West Europe programme via the ITEG (Integrating Tidal Energy into the European Grid) project. Using excess energy generated by the Orbital 2MW turbine, this project will demonstrate an integrated hydrogen production solution in remote areas where grid export limitations exist.
- April 2021: Orbital Marine Power launch O2 in Dundee
- November 2020: Orbital Marine Power announces crowdfunding campaign
- November 2020: Orbital unveils futuristic tidal and river turbines in strategic design partnership with Designworks, a BMW Group Company
- October 2020: Building back greener – O2 boasts 75% UK based supply chain
- August 2020: Orbital Marine Power takes final lessons from SR2000 bringing prototype programme to a close
- March 2020: Orbital set ambition on installing first floating tidal farm at EMEC
- September 2019: Orbital Marine Power awarded £3.4m from Scottish Government
- August 2019: Orbital O2 to be built by TEXO Group in Dundee
- August 2019: ITEG project progress – Orbital contract FAUN Trackway for anchor fabrication of O2 turbine
- January 2019: Orbital Marine Power raise £7 million through crowdfunding
- December 2018: Orbital Marine Power scoops Best Innovation Award 2018
- December 2018: Orbital Marine Power signs agreement with Menter Môn for Anglesey tidal array project.
- November 2018: Orbital Marine Power unveil design for Orbital O2 tidal turbine
- November 2018: Orbital Marine Power win twice at prestigious IET Awards
- November 2018: Orbital Marine Power and SKF awarded funding to deliver performance improvement technology
- October 2018: Orbital Marine Power announces Abundance peer-to-peer investment
- October 2018: Scotrenewables renames as Orbital Marine Power
- October 2018: Scotrenewables receive new investment in preparation for new turbine build
- September 2018: Scotrenewables SR1-2000 to make way for FloTEC SR2-2000
- August 2018: Scotrenewables Tidal clocks record level of power generation
- June 2018: €11 million ITEG project to integrate tidal power, grid and hydrogen
- January 2018: Scotrenewables powers through winter storms
- November 2017: Scotrenewables tidal power hits 1GWH in record time at EMEC, Orkney
- November 2017: Scotrenewables tidal power kicks off new funding round
- September 2017: Scotrenewables powers Orkney grid
- September 2017: World’s first tidal-powered hydrogen generated at EMEC
- May 2017: Scotrenewables clocks-up the power
- March 2017: EMEC tidal site activity ramping up
- February 2017: Orkney – buzzing with marine energy development
- October 2016: Scotrenewables installs world’s largest tidal turbine at EMEC for first time
- September 2016: Energy minister hails SR2000 “game changer” during Orkney visit
- June 2016: SR2000 arrives in Orkney
- May 2016: Scotrenewables Tidal Power launch world’s largest tidal turbine
- February 2016: Horizon2020 grant €10m to Scotrenewables FloTEC project
- February 2016: Scotrenewables deploy advanced anchoring system at EMEC
- December 2015: Scotrenewables secures £5.7m to demonstrate world’s largest tidal turbine at EMEC
- August 2013: Busy week at Fall of Warness
- August 2013: Unprecedented tidal energy activity at Hatston Pier
- December 2012: Congratulations to Scotrenewables on £7.6m foreign investment
- August 2012: WATESR2 funding recipients announced
- July 2011: SR250 generates power for the first time
- March 2011: SR250 arrives in Orkney