By Richard Montague, Lead Mechanical Engineer, Nova Innovation Ltd
One of the early tasks in the EnFAIT project was to produce a concept design for an expanded tidal array in Shetland. At Nova Innovation, we’ve already installed and operated an array of three turbines in Bluemull Sound, and so adding three more of the same would be relatively easy.
However, the aim of this project is demonstrate how to deliver much larger arrays… of ten turbines, then thirty and beyond.
This has meant changing some of the electrical and control architectures to be more scalable, as well as thinking much harder about design for manufacture (DFM) to be able to produce quality hardware faster and cheaper. This process has also given us an opportunity to implement many of the lessons we’ve learned during the design, manufacture and operation of the original Nova M100 turbines. The overall concept of these machines has been well-proven, but as an engineer it’s really satisfying to be able to go around the loop again to iterate your designs and improve them.
It’s been great to work with our new consortium partners when developing these array concepts. We’ve been getting some very interesting insights from their experience – not only from other renewable industries such as wind and wave, but also from related sectors such as marine engineering and oil and gas, as well as even further afield such as chemical processing plants and steelworks. The team is now flat out turning the selected concepts into detailed designs ahead of moving into manufacturing next year. The next few months promise to be a busy but very exciting time!