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Renewable Energy

Sample projects where the focus is on generating energy from renewable sources using clean power converters.

Tidal Stream Generator
Ocean Flow Evopod Outline
Tidal turbine test rig

R+D Project commissioned by the client company: Ocean Flow Energy.

Design, development and supply of the complete power conversion and control system for a prototype fixed pitch 25kW floating tidal stream generator located in the sea 1km off the Scottish west coast. Power conversion and control using Siemens S120 motor and active line modules together with multiple networked S7 PLC equipment. Included the development of a 3kV high voltage transmission system using undersea and shore based transformers. Full system modelling and construction of a test dynamometer were also included to ensure comprehensive test coverage prior to equipment delivery.

A general arrangement of the dynamometer test rig is shown where the dynamometer driving motor was controlled by a custom LabVIEW program which allowed the tidal generator response to water flow and wave action to be evaluated.

The Siemens S120 drive skid is also shown where the construction was particularly challenging due to the small available space.

Tidal turbine power drive skid
Tidal turbine drive skid assembly

An image is shown of the drive skid being inserted into the tidal generator hull during the on site installation and shore commissioning phase of the project.

An inside view of the on shore power and communications panel is also shown.

Tidal turbine shore panel
River Hydro Plant Refit

Independent twin Archimedes screw hydro plant control system refit for Stockport Community Hydro. Project specification, supply and commissioning of new networked PLC and other control system hardware to replace obsolete components. Complete software re-write to improve the hydro plant operational performance and reduce constant manual control requirements by the plant volunteers. Siemens S120 motor and active line equipment and S7 PLC. Special algorithms were designed to handle closed loop weir level control, automatic single or twin screw operation, penstock gate control and dynamic brake for safe stopping of the screws under power fail conditions.

A web based data collection system was provided for real time monitoring, historical data logging and basic remote control.

Horizontal axis wind turbine
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine

Supply of Siemens S7 PLC and control software for the refit of a range of pitch controlled horizontal axis wind turbines. Comprehensive project specification. Design of algorithms to regulate the shaft speed by changing the blade pitch. Nacelle angle control to ensure stable operation facing the wind under all conditions. Web based data collection system for real time monitoring, historical data logging and basic remote control.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Project specification, hardware design and complete control software for a prototype fixed pitch 50kW vertical axis wind turbine. Computer modelling for design of control algorithms to maximise power output under all conditions based on prevailing wind speed together with aerodynamic blade, generator and transmission characteristics. Siemens S120 motor and active line equipment together with S7 safety PLC for all control functions. The computer model was directly converted to PLC code resulting in a significantly reduced commissioning time.

Design of programmable safety, over speed and braking systems to suit European Machinery Directives. Web based data collection system for monitoring, historical data logging and basic remote control. Also included automatic production reporting to show power produced, turbine up time and other useful metrics.

The variable speed fixed pitch design proved a significant control challenge. A successful outcome was achieved, generating good power over the rated range of wind conditions.

Horizontal wind turbine control panel
Battery Storage and Solar Options

Basic design and proposals put forward to the Client for an integrated 200kWh grid scale lithium ion battery together with a 30kW solar array suitable for supplying power to remote locations. Used Siemens power modules, closely integrated to the wind turbine power converter to provide an simple and effective solution. Self-contained micro grid suitable for operation together with a backup diesel generator.

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