Hydrokinetic turbine developer, GKinetic Energy will trial the innovative C-GEN PTO technology in an exciting new University led project. The University of Edinburgh has been funded for a £112, 177 project of which £40,102 is directly provided by the Engineering & Physical Science Research Council Impact Acceleration Accounts (EPSRC IAAs) Seed Funding Call. 

EPSRC IAAs are strategic awards provided to institutions to support knowledge exchange and impact from the output of their ongoing or completed EPSRC funded research. Awards are intended to add value to existing funding and take advantage of new or unforeseen opportunities, while encouraging engagement with external non-academic partners.

As responsibility for management of IAAs is devolved to each research organisation, IAAs allow institutions to respond to opportunities in flexible, responsive and creative ways, aligned to their institutional strategies and opportunities. The University of Edinburgh EPSRC IAA is delivered through a wide range of activities including seed funding for collaborative projects, commercialisation projects and secondments; strategic partnership development; and interactive events designed to catalyse industry-academic knowledge exchange and collaboration.

The commercialisation project titled “Marinised PTO Systems for Ocean Energy Conversion” brings together the C-GEN PTO Team at the University of Edinburgh, GKinetic Energy and Seabased Group acting as industry partners whose technology will be used in the trials. Additional manufacturing partners are Fountain Design Limited and Quartz Elec. The project kicked-off on the 1st of April and will run for 9 months until the end of December 2021. Outcomes are specifically aimed towards providing confidence in the submerged C-GEN design in order that the manufacturing of a full scale demonstrator can be considered in 2022. 

The marine energy environment poses substantial challenges that must be addressed if marine renewable energy technology is to proliferate. Key among these issues is the development of an efficient, adaptable electrical power take-off (PTO) system capable of coping with the highly variable forces. Furthermore, with high operation and maintenance (O&M) costs seriously affecting the competitiveness of many systems, PTO’s must aim for designs with greater reliability and operational flexibility to lower associated downtimes.

Developing integrated modular electrical generator topology and power electronic systems has the potential to improve system reliability and reducing repair time should faults occur. The modularity allows the system to continue operation at reduced capacity should either a fault occur or if sections are required to be removed for maintenance. Additionally, a fully flooded generator provides for a more versatile WEC design enabling a greater degree of integration compared to coupling a device to a mechanically sealed generator.

“The C-GEN Generator Topology has been produced with these challenges in mind and has been successfully demonstrated at multiple scales in both dry and wet operating conditions. By partnering with GKinetic and SEABASED Group via the IAA Project Fund, C-GEN moves closer to the production of a full scale marine energy demonstrator optimised and tailored to the requirements of the marine energy sector, for both wave and tidal energy extraction.” – Dr Joseph Burchell, Project Lead and Machines Researcher at the School of Engineering within the University of Edinburgh

This project will progress GKinetic’s larger submerged device while their floating plug & play solution is ready for market applications. The company is currently lining up commercial projects for the next 2 years for their floating turbine and welcomes any interested parties to get in touch at info@gkinetic.com.