Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (UK)
The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult is a UK centre of excellence for offshore renewable energy technologies. It runs the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland. The organisation is involved within the INOMANS2HIP project to develop detailed computational models of renewable energy systems for cargo ships.
The National Renewable Energy Centre runs a range of world leading facilities for the testing of wave, tidal, wind, subsea and electrical systems. These include:
- Blade Test I and Blade Test II: These two facilities are capable of testing wind turbine blades up to 50m and 100m in length respectively. Blade Test II is capable of testing longer blades than any other facility in the world.
- Fujin: The world’s largest offshore wind turbine drive train test system (15MW).
- Nautilus: Drive train test stand for tidal energy devices, capable of reaching up to 3MW, far in excess of any tidal devices currently in commercial production.
- Simulated Sea Bed: Specialised dry dock for the testing of Remotely Operated Vehicles, cable laying technologies for offshore wind turbines, and foundation laying technologies.
- Charles Parsons Technology Centre EnergyLink Laboratory: Specialist facility providing testing, analysis and demonstration services to the micro to medium scale power generation technology sector. The laboratory enables technology developers, network operators and industry regulators to identify, investigate and understand issues around network integration and operational characteristics of new power technologies under ‘real world’ conditions, prior to connection to the public electricity network.
- Charles Parsons Technology Centre High Voltage Laboratory: Unique high voltage testing system, capable of reaching 1MW for performance testing of multiple devices. Used for the testing of transmission grid systems, renewable energy integration systems, switchgear, and lightning strike testing of wind turbine blades.
- Offshore Wind Training Tower: 27m high tower, for training of offshore wind technicians
A core part of the organisation is its commitment to research and development in the renewable energy sector, helping drive forward innovation on a national and international level.
Projects (past and present) include:
- MARINET – Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network for Emerging Energy Technologies
- Snapper – The development of a novel rare-earth magnet based wave power conversion system
- HIPRWind – High Power, high Reliability offshore wind technology
- MARE-WINT – new MAterials and REliability in offshore WINd Turbines technology
- OPTIMUS -Demonstration of methods and tools for the optimisation of operational reliability of large scale industrial wind turbines