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Epsilon Optics Provides Fibre-Optic Sensing for TEL’s DeltaStream Tidal Energy Turbine

28 October 2014

Epsilon Optics Provides Fibre-Optic Sensing for TEL’s DeltaStream Tidal Energy Turbine

Tidal Energy’s innovative DeltaStream turbine will soon be installed off the Pembrokeshire coast, UK in Ramsey sound, where it will be closely monitored with the help of Epsilon Optics fibre-optic sensing technology.

The multiple patented DeltaStream design consists of three independent 400kW nacelles mounted on a triangular frame which sits on the seabed and weighs around 400 tonnes. The DeltaStream device with its state-of-the-art hydraulics system, ensures the turbine freely turns to capture the best tidal flow and maximise power generation.

The use of three turbines on a single, 36m wide, triangular gravity base foundation produces a low centre of gravity enabling the device to satisfy its structural stability requirements including the avoidance of overturning and sliding. This allows for low installation and maintenance costs relative to the electricity it generates.

With turbulent tidal flow rates of up to 6kn, considerable loads will be imposed on the turbine and structure.  Epsilon Optics has provided two fibre-optic strain sensing systems to help monitor the effects of these loads on the composite rotor blades and steel base structure.  Real time strain data will be streamed ashore via a sub-sea data link to enable the assessment of the in-service loads and the response of the structure to these loads.

This is the latest of several tidal energy projects for which Epsilon Optics has provided strain sensing technology.  The information generated in this type of application is typically used to verify the predicted loads on the structure at all operating conditions, confirm the response of the structure to these loads, and provide information for refining future turbine designs and also to provide long term structural monitoring.

Fibre optic sensors are particularly suited to marine applications such as this as they are relatively unaffected by water ingress and can maintain accuracy over many years of service and many millions of load cycles.

Photo provided by TEL






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