Orbital awards contract for world's most powerful tidal turbine to Texo Group

The O2 will generate more than two megawatts from tidal stream resources. Picture: contributed
The O2 will generate more than two megawatts from tidal stream resources. Picture: contributed
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Orbital Marine Power, the Scottish developer of floating tidal stream turbines, has awarded Aberdeen-based engineering and technology firm Texo Group a multi-million-pound manufacturing project to create the most ­powerful turbine of its kind.

Texo has won the main ­manufacturing contract for Orbital’s first commercial O2 tidal stream turbine, which will build on its SR2000 ­model that generated more than three gigawatt hours of ­power in its first year of testing at the European Marine Energy ­Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

The engineering group will carry out the work at its quayside facilities at the Port of Dundee.

Orbital claims that the O2 unit, capable of generating in excess of two megawatts from tidal stream resources, will be the world’s most powerful tidal turbine when it enters operation next year as part of a long-term project at EMEC.

At 600 square metres, the rotor area on the 72-metre model will also be the largest on a single tidal generating platform to date, and will feature innovations focused on reducing the cost of energy production.

The O2 project has received financial backing from sources including a £7 million crowdfunding bond, billed by Orbital as one of the largest peer-to-peer debentures in the UK.

It is also supported by ­Horizon 2020, an EU research and innovation programme that will make nearly €80 ­billion (£74bn) of funding available by next year to ­support sustainable projects.

Orbital chief executive Andrew Scott said: “This is a flagship engineering project for the emerging tidal ­sector and we are delighted to be working with Texo Group to showcase the very capable supply chain we are fortunate to have around us in Scotland and the wider UK.

“The results that we achieved with the SR2000 over the past two years are a convincing validation of our low-cost approach to generating clean, predictable power from tidal stream energy. The Orbital team are really excited to be building on that success with the O2, which we are ­confident will further reduce costs and cement our position at the forefront of this exciting new renewable ­sector.

“We hope the UK Government will work constructively with us towards creating a wider future market ­opportunity to harness our fantastic tidal energy resources, in turn creating an entirely new domestic low carbon ­generating industry with ­sustainable export capabilities.”

Texo MD Robert Dalziel said: “The O2 is a pioneering project that will transform the future of tidal energy on a global scale and will be a showcase for the very best in Scottish engineering.”

David Webster, senior port manager at Port of Dundee, added: “This project demonstrates the capacity of the Port of Dundee to handle major renewable energy projects and the flexibility to work with our partners here in the port to make initiatives such as the O2 become a reality.”

Orbital has 30 staff at offices in Orkney and Edinburgh. Its main shareholders are the McGrath Group, headed by Scottish entrepreneur Matt McGrath, and Scottish Enterprise via the Energy Investment Fund.