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Full Stream Ahead To Tidal Turbine Assessments

QED are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Corey Badger. Her role maintains the sophisticated CFD numerical capabilities employed as part of the Subhub tidal platform design process. This uses High Performance Computing (HPC) capabilities which clusters all the high end workstations together to provide 32 core processor power with shared memory of 256GB enabling massive numerical models to run quickly providing tangible results on turbine performance within weeks rather than months. These capabilities are part of the companies ANSYS Fluent CFD package which offer state of the art modelling methods.

QED offers these capabilities and services to other companies working in the sector including turbine and project developers. This includes the performance characterisation of tidal turbines both with and without the Subhub tidal platform to assess the impact of the structure on their performance.

More recently the company has been working with Queens University Belfast (QUB) to assess the impact of Subhub on turbulence within the TTT3 project. This involves taking ‘as measured’ ADCP measurements and determine the turbulence content in it and applying turbulence factors to a numerical model of a rotating turbine in steady state condition that provides accurate general loading and performance data (Ct, Cq, Cp). The next stage is to run these models in a transient solution providing unsteady loading results of the turbine and Subhub.

CFD numerical model of the TTT3 turbines including ‘as measured’ turbulence and flow conditions used to predict the steady state performance characteristics and unsteady loading conditions.

There have been some interesting results to date and this work will be a large part of Corey’s role to validate the claims that Subhub has major performance and unsteady loading benefits on tidal turbines. Further claims of reducing the effect of tidal shear on seabed mounted devices and lessening the issue of turbulence and cross flows on the turbine blades by steering the flow into the turbines like stators of a pump jet.

Corey has also taken on the development of the company’s Tidal and Wave Energy Evaluation Tools (TWEET).  The main module of TWEET takes as measured or theoretical tidal harmonic models along with CFD/BEM performance data of the turbines and projects the energy generated from the inlet condition over a period of a year or the life of the project. Monte Carlo simulations can then be run from within TWEET to determine the economic viability of the project.

Monte Carlo simulations for the cost of the mass including fabricated mass and ballast mass.

The company has also started building its own GIS mapping tool to store and maintain site data including bathymetry, flow rates, positions of moorings, pictures and videos of seabed conditions and mammal, bird and fauna sightings for EIA studies.

Output from QEDs GIS mapping tool showing the position of the selected Subhub test sites at the QUB test centre along with flow data and bathymetry.

Corey brings new capabilities to the company having completed her Ph.D in multiphase flows using OpenFOAM, the open source CFD package. She has used the Edinburgh Parallel Processing Centre (EPCC) super computer to complete her Ph.D and now QED Naval have implemented Linux on a dedicated compute server to run OpenFOAM  capable of completing very large numerical calculations in excess of 10 million cells. Transferring these models over to the EPCC will provide fully validated results within days rather than weeks.

Subhub Project Awarded FORESEA Funding to Test at EMEC

QED Naval are excited to announce that they have been awarded funding for the open sea testing at the EMEC tidal test sites. This provides access to both the scale tidal test site along with the grid connected Falls of Warness site.

QED Naval have engaged in pre-commercial discussions for a contract at EMEC to carry marine operations at their test site that aims to validate claims of the Subhub tidal platform. These include:

  • Reduction in the cost of deployment of tidal turbines using a single marine operation to install the turbines ready for operation on the seabed within a broad range and tidal states and wave conditions.
  • Enhanced power output and site capacity factors.
  • Retrieval of the system for maintenance in a single marine  operation using a low cost multicat vessel over a broad range of conditions.
EMEC Falls of Warness tidal test stie.
EMEC Falls of Warness tidal test stie.

Significant site feasibility work has already been carried out by QED Naval as part of the FORESEA application which will ultimately see them connect tidal turbines to the grid for verification of the enhanced performance characteristics provided by the Subhub foundation solution.

GIS mapping tool containing all the flow data, berth positions and bathymetry of the Falls of Warness tidal test site.

GIS mapping tool containing all the flow data, berth positions and bathymetry of the Falls of Warness tidal test site.

Modularised Subhub Makes For Easier Launch & Marine Ops

The latest community scale version of the Subhub has now been frozen ready for build. Manufacturing outputs have been completed for the new modularised version of the Subhub. This allows the bare hull to be fabricated on the quayside and lifted into the water by a smaller, more available and lower cost crane.

After launch the newly designed modular solid ballast blocks can be easily lifted slotted into the bottom of the hull to provide the impressive stability characteristics of the Subhub during transit and installation.

Solid ballast modules allows smaller more available, lower cost cranes to be used for launch of the Subhub.
Solid ballast modules allows smaller more available, lower cost cranes to be used for launch of the Subhub.

The pressure cabinets to support the 3 x Tocardo T1 turbines have also been modularised to allow them to be slotted into the top of the hull once the main hull has been launched. This allows the cabinets to be quickly connected up to the generators whilst afloat. Access panels allow simple maintenance operations to be completed at sea.

Pressure Cabinets
Pressure cabinets slot into the main hull of the Subhub making integration and connection to the generators easy.

 

Offler Marine Supports Subhub Installation

Offler Marine

QED Naval have teamed up with Offler Marine Services Group (OMSG) to provide offshore expertise with the selection of installation and recovery methods, to help de-risk and reduce cost exposure of the Subhub project and its payload of tidal turbines.

QED Naval received a real boost to their plans to reduce the costs of deployment of the commercial scale (multi MW devices) from OMSG. They received a report this week from OSMG produced by the team who have significant experience within the tidal, wave and offshore wind power industry. Steve Offler lent his weight and credibility behind the Subhub project when it was recognised that the feasibility to install Subhub in 30-60 minute time scalesandat a fraction of the typical installation costs currently influencing the industry were achievable.

Recommendations from OMSG’s report are currently being implemented into the prototype structuredesign, based on a 4.0m diameter tidal turbine, tofurther fine tune the offshoreinstallation and recoveryprocess.

Jeremy Smith, Managing Director of QED Naval said, “This is a really exciting development for QED Subhub since the basis of our design is to remove the need for complex, large and hi tech installation vessels with equally high day rates and availability issues. This report along with what we have learned from our ballasting trials at Forth Estuary Engineering are the positive indicators that significant reductions in the costs of deployment of commercial scale devices are not too far away. We are steadily moving towards offering our customers and their investors a generic deployment solution no matter what the location, environment or turbine used“.

Steve Offler, MD at OMSG said “Marine Installation costs and risks are high, QED have identified this and sought to engage installation design expertise early to ensure costs and risks are mitigated, this is an extremely important part of the development process and one that will add significant value to Subhubs future success

Client list of Offler Marine.

Client list of Offler Marine.

ANSYS Boosts Productivity on Subhub Project

QED Naval selected ANSYS Spaceclaim as their advanced CAD design tool after a review of other products on the market. Spaceclaim is a direct modeler which means any line, curve surface or solid element of the CAD geometry can be modified and updated in an instant using simple tools.

Spaceclaim integrates seamlessly with the rest of the ANSYS suite through Workbench into Fluent and Mechanical. It can import geometry from the majority of CAD  formats. It is particularly good at fixing errors in geometry really quickly and intuitively by using the main pull tools. This is particularly useful for CFD fluid modelling and FEA structural analysis.

Spaceclaim provides a significant increase in performance in producing manufacturing outputs drawings which has allowed us to transfer our design to our suppliers and subcontractors quickly and easily.

Baseline Subhub model within Spaceclaim.
Baseline Subhub model within Spaceclaim.

 

QED Naval Completes Recruitment Drive

QED Naval has recently completed its recruitment drive to enable it to take on the challenges of the Subhub project and bring further capabilities to the business. Alan McIntosh, Craig Salkeld and Jonathan Nicol have all joined the team in the past few months each bringing experience, expertise and new ideas into the group.

Craig joins us from Aquamarine Power where he supported the developing technologies group and now adds to QED Naval’s Mechanical Engineering and Fluid Loading team which are working away on the detailed design phase of the a 4.0m diameter version of the community scale Subhub capable of generating up to 150kW of power.

Alan previously worked with Pelamis including the project that installed the Pelamis device off the coast of Portugal. He joins us as the Operations Manager and will be working on the procedures for installation/retrieval and operation/maintenance of the Subhub. A large part of this role is to manage the risk assessments and health and safety of all those involved in offshore operations.

Jonathan Nicol also joins the team from Aquamarine Power and will be taking on the role of Procurement and Document Control Manager and will be developing the supply chain for the Subhub as well as driving the business management system towards ISO 9001 standard.

This recruitment drive has brought a wealth of knowledge from the wave & tidal sector which will be applied to develop the Subhub project as well as making important additions to the capabilities of the consultancy aspects of the business.

Jeremy Smith the Managing Director said, “We are delighted with the outcome of the recruitment drive. This compact, highly qualified and specialist team gives us the capability to take the Subhub demonstration project through to a successful completion. We are confident of achieving our aims of this project where the key objective is to produce a  step change in the cost of generating tidal energy. Beyond that, this recruitment drive provides us with with the knowledge, skills and man power to support other marine renewable projects which require access to our advanced numerical modelling capabilities from ANSYS and MatLab which simulate the extreme conditions from wind, wave and tidal loading on their structures and turbines”.

QED Naval Commences Fabrication Stage of the Subhub Operational Prototype

QED Naval has launched the fabrication stage of its Subhub operational tidal turbine operational model. The operational prototype will be the largest model created by the company and will seek to test the systems that allow it to ballast and de-ballast itself which in turn will enable tidal turbine installation and retrieval at reduced time and cost. Working closely with Edinburgh based Pentland Precision Engineering the fabrication is expected to take around 2 months and will be ready for operational testing this summer. Previous models of a smaller scale have already verified the concept in terms of the shape and masses involved with the structure. QED Naval director said “This is an important step forward for the Subhub as it will enable us to demonstrate the competitive edge the design has over current installation methods for tidal arrays.” Meanwhile the company is also pushing ahead with the design of the community scale prototype capable of producing up to 200kwhr that will integrate the learning from the operational model.

ANSYS Provide the Power to Simulate Subhub’s Capabilities

Simulating Real-time Loads & Responses

QED Naval has recently acquired simulation and assessment tools from ANSYS to help realize and demonstrate the Subhub Platform’s promise, to significantly reduce the cost of deployment of wave and tidal turbines.

In order to assess the fluid loadings during transportation, installation and operation through life, ANSYS Fluent will be used. These working loads and more conservative extreme loads will be used to calculate the structural response of the Subhub using ANSYS Structural.

Within the ANSYS universal simulation environment, effective Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) assessments will allow QED Naval to understand the capabilities of the Subhub and the safe operational windows which is so important when considering installation, operation and maintenance procedures within these energetic areas.

ANSYS  was selected for the unique features of its unified front end, called Workbench, that can combine and share data from multi-physics design simulations and provide potential for exploring the Subhub’s key parameters using optimisation methods.