Orbital Marine Power Ltd is an innovative Scottish engineering company focused on the development of a tidal energy turbine technology capable of producing a step-change reduction in the cost of energy from tidal currents. The company’s novel floating technology offers 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 company currently employs 30 staff with offices in Orkney and Edinburgh.
The Orbital 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. Orbital were the first company in the world to successfully grid connect a floating tidal turbine in 2011 with their 250kW scale system which was operated at EMEC.
In 2016 the company launched the SR2000, the world’s most powerful tidal stream turbine. The SR2000 produced in excess of 3GWh of electricity over its initial 12 month continuous test programme. At the time this represented more power from a single turbine than had been generated cumulatively by the wave and tidal sector in Scotland over the 12 years prior to the launch of the SR2000.
The Orbital O2 will comprise of a 72m long floating superstructure, supporting two 1 MW turbines at either side for a nameplate power output of 2MW, at a tidal current speed of 2.5 m/s. With rotor diameters of 20m, it will have a 600sq metre rotor area, the largest ever on a single tidal generating platform to date.
In October 2018 Orbital opened a £7m crowd funding debenture on the London-based Abundance Investment platform to support the build of the O2 turbine with the target being met inside 10 weeks.
The O2 project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the FloTEC project (grant agreement No. 691916) and the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg North West Europe Programme under the ITEG project.
This project has also received support under the framework of the OCEANERA-NET COFUND project, with funding provided by national / regional sources and co-funding by the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme.
Orbital Marine Power Limited (formerly called Scotrenewables Tidal Power Limited) is a privately held company, main shareholders are the McGrath Group headed by Scottish entrepreneur Matt McGrath and Scottish Enterprise via the Energy Investment Fund.
resourcefigTidal power is one of the newest entrants to the global renewables market and has already been proven as a technically viable solution. The next step for the industry is to scale up and demonstrate it will follow the same cost reduction pathway as wind and other mainstream renewables. Orbital Marine Power is well placed to lead that market.
River Hydrokinetic Power
River hydrokinetic energy (RHK) is a virtually untapped renewable energy source whereby electricity-generating turbines are placed directly in fast river flows, avoiding the need for a dam or weir to impede water flow. This can result in much lower environmental impact.
The Orbital turbine is ideally suited for RHK application. The integrated floating hull approach ensures that the turbine rotors are positioned close to the surface, where river flows are fastest.
The retractable leg design also allows the turbine to be towed through shallow river systems without the need for specialist vessels.
The turbine has particular applications in isolated grid networks, to offset expensive diesel generation. The turbine can be optimised to match local electricity demand and river flow conditions.