Giant turbine unveiled: data centre next?

Friday 13th August 2010
World tidal power market opens to budget, in depth and on time. Courtesy:

Atlantis Resources have had the AK -1000 tidal energy turbine, believed to be the largest built in the world, assembled at a facility at Evanton in Ross-shire. It will be towed by barge from Invergordon to the European Marine Energy Centre test site of Eday, Orkney. The AK-1000's blades are 18m in diameter and can generate 1MW.

"It is designed for harsh weather and rough, open ocean environments such as those found off the Scottish coast," said the firm. "It represents the culmination of 10 years of hard work."

The nacelle  was fabricated by Soil Marine Dynamics in Newcastle, the gravity base structure and system assembly was completed by Isleburn Engineering in Invergordon, and steel for the turbine came from the Corus' Scunthorpe facility.

The firm claims that tidal electricity from turbines can be delivered at a price between that of on-shore and off-shore wind turbines. And that, including anchoring structures, its 130 tonne turbine can replace a 1,000 tonne off-shore wind turbine - although in this case it is comparing a 1MW water turbine with a 3-5MW wind machine.

The AK-1000 blades rotate at 8-20rpm and drive the permanent magnet generator directly, eliminating any gearbox. Earlier this year, Atlantis was one of six companies to share a £22m award from Carbon Trust’s Marine Renewables Proving Fund (MRPF)

In addition to power generation Internet Villages International had already formed a strategic alliance with Atlantis to build a "blue data centre" in Caithness, designed to exploit marine energy" in the Pentland Firth. The data centre would provide services for companies powered by tidal energy rather than National Grid electricity.

Atlantis did not apply for the first round of leases for renewable energy sites in the Pentland Firth that were granted by the Crown Estate in March. But CEO Timothy Cornelius (left) said  the company proposed bidding when other locations were made available. Two years of planning have gone into the data facility and tidal scheme.

But while planning permission has been granted for Internet Villages International for its Ecclefechan  and Lockerbie Datacentres,  the Caithness facility, investment put at up to £300m has recieved little coverage since 2009.

Then the John O'Groats Journal  summarised that the intentions was to build an array of tidal turbines on the seabed of the firth to power an international computer data centre near the Castle of Mey.

Plans by Atlantis Resources Corporation with the US investment bank Morgan Stanley, were expected to create 100 jobs within the next two to three years, rising to 700 in the longer term. The data centre and the tidal-powered turbines, which would meet its energy requirements of 150MW, would be constructed at the same time, with the first of the arrays scheduled to be in place by around 2011.

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