Tidal turbine manufacturer OpenHydro has opted for the Signature500 current profiler from Norway-based Nortek to obtain precise current, wave and turbulence information as it is delivering two of the world’s first grid connected tidal arrays.

The Signature500 current profiler (located top right) is dwarfed by the huge dimensions of the tidal turbine

The Signature500 current profiler (located top right) is dwarfed by the huge dimensions of the tidal turbine

Two OpenHydro 16m turbines have already been deployed on EDF’s Paimpol-Bréhat project in France. Two more turbines are in the final stages of completion and will be deployed in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia later this summer.

With OpenHydro’s turbines being deployed on such a large scale, the company’s requirement for understanding local currents could not be more pressing. Understanding the flow field around each turbine is crucial to understanding the optimum operational speeds and the loads on the turbine itself. Furthermore, quantifying these currents improves understanding of how the turbine structure affects the currents and thus the local environment.

OpenHydro chose Nortek’s Signature500 current profiler for its measurement range capabilities and high-end performance specifications. “The Nortek Signature500 is a superb measurement device which performs very well. The devices have been easily integrated into our system thanks to their usability and the data recorded so far has been of excellent quality”, said Hamish Kerr, Oceanographic Engineer at Open Hydro.

OpenHydro hope to utilise the very fast sampling and concurrent capabilities of the Signature500 to define current velocities to an unprecedented degree. These measurements are key, not just to OpenHydro but eventually, claims Nortek, the entire tidal community. They will help validate and improve existing numerical models, bringing a level of understanding to the tidal sector which will aid in mitigating some of the risk and thus cost of deployment, which is crucial for the growth of the sector. “Nortek’s tireless customer service has been a great help to us and has made the task of integration, installation, data acquisition and processing go very smoothly”, Hamish Kerr added.

By Jake Frith