Royal Opening for Offshore Renewable Testing and Resarch Facilities

 World-class onshore facilities developed by Narec engineers provide a catalyst for the global scale-up of offshore wind and tidal energy technologies.

The Duke of York visited the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) later today, to open two new facilities for the development of offshore renewable energy technologies. The new offshore wind turbine blade and tidal turbine drive train testing facilities are the result of a combined investment of £33.6m by UK Government and the European Regional Development Fund. His Royal Highness visited Narec as part of his on-going effort to recognise and support British excellence in science and engineering.

Andrew Mill, Chief Executive at Narec, said: “Narec can be extremely proud of these two new facilities; they were conceived by our own engineers and have been delivered on time to meet market needs for testing larger offshore wind turbine blades and prototype tidal turbines. Each facility is world-class in its own right and together with our existing capabilities they provide the most comprehensive facilities anywhere in the world to enable the scale-up of renewable energy technologies offshore.”

Both open-access facilities have been designed and commissioned for full-scale design verification and accelerated life testing of major components for research, development and certification purposes.

Completed in August of this year, the world’s largest open-access blade test facility is ready for commercial operations. To accommodate the deflection on blades of up to 100m in length, construction of the 5,700m² steel frame structure incorporated techniques used during the building of the Beijing ‘Birds Nest’ Stadium. It is 123m in length, with a 74m unsupported structured span, and has a 15m high concrete superstructure test hub.

Nautilus, a 3MW capacity drive train testing facility for tidal turbines has recently completed its first client test for Atlantis Resources. Accelerated life tests, conducted from the relative sanctuary of an onshore test facility, will significantly advance the development cycle for tidal turbines and give developers in the UK a real edge as the marine energy industry approaches commercialisation. The Atlantis programme at Narec included full load-running testing on its AR1000 turbine; by doing this Atlantis has secured performance data equivalent to several months of operation in the sea.


Source: By Sheena McGeorge, Narec
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