Subhub Testing Commences

Subhub Operations model being launched for the shakedown tests.
Subhub Operations model being launched for the shakedown tests.

QED Naval launched the Subhub Operational model last week at Forth Estuary Engineering’s (FEE) dock in Leith. The last few weeks has been a hive of activity finalising the setup of the ballast systems, instrumentation, and the dock access and testing arrangements.

FEE have provided outstanding support during the preparation and will to be on hand through the testing phase. The Subhub will now be put through its passes to test the stability during installation, ballast system control and installation/retrieval methods.

The Director of QED Naval was on site to witness the launch and initial testing and has stated, “A lot of  hard work has gone into getting the Subhub project to this point which is a credit to the team and supporting companies. The Operations model represents a big step forward for the Subhub project de-risking the ballast system and installation/retrieval methods which is a key selling point used to reduce the cost of deployment and overall the cost of energy”.

Subhub Operations model fully instrumented with pressure and tank level gauges and air ballast system.
Subhub Operations model fully instrumented with pressure and tank level gauges with air ballast system.


Subhub Ops Model Weighs In

The Subhub Operations Model continues it fit-out and setup for the testing at Forth Estuaries Engineering’s (FEE’s) dock in Leith. An essential part of that was the “weigh-in” to check against our design calculations to ensure she is correctly ballasted for her initial trials.

The operations model is based on a 1.0m tidal turbine rotor diameter. It is designed to accommodate 3 of the heaviest tidal turbines on the market. The Operations Model has been built to the same mass proportions of the prototype so its motions will be accurately modeled.

The “Operations Model” is the 3rd in a series of models with very specific objectives. It has been developed to test the ballasting system and conduct installation/retrieval trials.

Subhub operations model combined with X-Beam being weighed and checked against design weight.
Subhub operations model combined with X-Beam being weighed and checked against design weight.

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.


Pentland Precision Engineering Deliver Subhub Operations Model

Fabrication has been completed on the operational model of the Subhub at Pentland Precision Engineering allowing QED Naval to begin the pre-testing setup of the device. The Subhub looked magnificent in the Edinburgh Sun as weeks of work culminated in a device that will be tested to the limit by QED Naval. Over the next week the team at QED will be carrying out pre-testing preparations fitting extensive instrumentation and ballast systems to gain the most out of the coming testing phase.

Project team at Pentland Precision Engineering Gordon Hardman (left) Grant Middleton (centre) and Chris Scott (right).

Pentland Precision Ops Model Delivery

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.

QED Appoints Leading Industry Figure as Chairman

QED Naval have appointed a new Chairman, Allan Thomson, with the approval from the investors Kelvin Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank. This brings a new focus to our business and we are looking forward to utilising Allan’s experience of two decades within the wave and tidal sector.

Allan has previously founded Wavegen which was sold onto Siemens and still occupies a position on the Aquamarine Power’s board. This year he was awarded the Saltire Prize for service to the wave and tidal industry.

Aris Zavvos Joins QED Naval Team

QED Naval is proud to welcome a new member of staff into the ranks. Aris Zavvos who has recently joined us has a Sustainable Energy Systems Master degree and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh. Aris has been recruited as the Electrical Systems and Turbine Integration Engineer to manage the electrical design and development of the Subhub tidal turbine foundation as well as validating the instrumentation and data acquisition system during the testing stages of our first prototype.


New Recruit Maintains QED Predictive Flow Capability

Javier Sanmartin joined QED Naval and in so doing builds on the fluid modelling capabilities. Javier is an accomplished ANSYS Fluent user having completed his Masters thesis on modelling wind turbines. With this latest recruit QED Naval maintains its capability to model the fluid and wave loading on marine structures such as offshore wind, wave and tidal turbines. Javier brings the additional capability of blade modelling so the thrust & torque and power coefficients of the turbines can be predicted.

Full ‘Stream’ Ahead on the Subhub Tidal Turbine Foundation

QED Naval is delighted to announce that they have received the financial backing from Kelvin Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank this week to support the continued development of the Subhub, the tidal turbine foundation structure.

This 1st tranche of money will allow QED Naval to conduct the tank testing of 2 models of increasing scale within the world class, FloWave TT facility. These experiments will allow them to validate the current Subhub design against 3 principle objectives that include:

  • Verification of the design process and tools;
  • Provide evidence of the performance claims increased power output and;
  • Define the limitations from extreme loading events from combined wave and tidal forces.
Subhub validation model nearing completion.
Subhub validation model nearing completion.

Marine renewable engineering and design consultants