The NEMMO project recently reached its last and most significant milestone – producing novel–design tidal blades.
NEMMO partner INPRE Composites completed the manufacturing of four novel-design blades last week. Three of these brand-new blades are now being shipped to the site of Magallanes Renewables’ ATIR tidal energy platform in Scotland for installation. The fourth one was produced for structural testing.
The blade-making process
The finished blades look very impressive. The manufacturing process involved in producing these large-scale optimised prototypes was very challenging, requiring a lot of manual labour to ensure that the fabrication was carried out in accordance with the novel design.
To make these novel-design composite blades, new shell plugs and moulds were first produced. Following that, different fibre-reinforced composite materials were laid up on the moulds, followed by a resin infusion process. Once the layup of sub-components had been completed, the blade webs and rib, manufactured separately, were installed. Then, the main components were assembled and the second shell bonded.
Once all components had been bonded, the next step consisted of drilling the T-bolt holes and installing the interface crown, resulting in the fully assembled tidal turbine blade. Finally, the surface of the blades was prepared and painted. It was a complex process too, as different primers and a final anti-fouling layer had to be laid.
These new blades will soon be installed in the current tidal site of Magallanes Renewables’ ATIR platform in Scotland, hopefully within the next few months. The final test of these blades will be performed at the tidal site following the final setup of the device and its control system. Magallanes Renewables will monitor and evaluate the blades’ performance and any eventual behavioural changes due to ageing, fouling, cavitation, etc.
Take a look at these images of the different fabrication stages:
Manufacturing of the mould
Blade shell, webs and rib in the assembly process
The blades in the process of being closed
Assembly of the blades prior to applying the paint and anti-fouling layer
Painting the blades before laying the anti-fouling cover
Finished blade with anti-fouling cover