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  • Writer's pictureMatt Dawson

Orthotropic supports Orbital

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

With ever more dire warnings about the likely consequences of climate change, we're always keen at #OrthotropicEngineering to support #RenewableEnergy projects. So when approached by #OrbitalMarinePower to assist in the design process for their O2-2000 tidal turbine blades, the decision to say 'yes' was one of the easiest we've yet had to make.

The O2-2000 turbine draws on over 15 years of development at Orbital (previously #Scotrenewables) to deliver the world's most powerful tidal turbine in a floating configuration that drastically cuts installation and maintenance costs. The engineering of composite blades represents one of the key challenges that must be met to realise the benefits of of tidal power, so with with long personal involvement in this field, Orthotropic was ideally positioned to offer the support requested.

In addition to on-tap consultancy services, we were pleased to provide direct assistance with the design and analysis of the main load-bearing component of blade; the composite spar. This is subject to extremely high loads and must operate reliably for many years in an aggressive marine environment.

The design of the spar laminate in particular was a complex challenge: Care was taken to fully understand both the structural requirements of the spar and the manufacturing technique proposed by Orbital's selected manufacturer. Taking best practise into account, appropriate materials and provisional laminates were assigned to the various zones to form a strong box structure. We then used our Nastran finite element software to evaluate the design against all potentially critical load cases, rapidly iterating the laminate definition to converge on an efficient solution. Amongst other benefits, we've been able to deliver a considerable saving in terms of materials usage and cost.

We look forward to following the manufacture and installation of the O2-2000 turbine over the coming months. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact us for assistance with the engineering of composite structures for marine renewable projects: We're strongly committed to this sector and continue to strengthen our offering with an exciting R&D programme for 2020.

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