Vesconite Bearings is proud to be associated with tidal energy equipment developer Norwegian Ocean Power, which successfully trialled its Pulsus horizontal-axis spiral-design tidal turbine, as part of the development of its first commercial unit, in 2016.
The turbines were tested in Drammensfjorden, Norway, where a dynamic test on the composite structure and bearings was performed.
The structure bent and flexed with tidal currents, which can produce significant turbulence and considerable upward and sideward forces, so the testing of uneven forces was a key part of testing for this tidal turbine.
“We were hoping to separate out any vibration from the structure,” informed technical director and founder Kent Thoresen in 2016, noting that the company’s turbine was successful in this aim.
The thrust bearings moved backwards and forwards and eliminated the vibration as planned, which might have otherwise led to a systemic failure.
The 0,5m-diameter Vesconite bearings, meanwhile, which were installed on each end of the horizontal unit, also performed well in their ability to absorb vibration.
They were chosen after the testing of various competing products that were less flexible and exhibited dry-run problems.
They were also shown to exhibit no swell in water; require no grease, oil or additional lubrication; and have a load capacity that is unaffected by water.
“There are many failed projects in the tidal energy industry due to turbulence that causes vibration and uneven force distribution,” commented Thoresen in 2016.
“That is why it was important to fully test our unit in real sea conditions,” he noted.
Norwegian Ocean Power was the owner, financer and developer of the innovative turbine technology, which was due to be installed in the sea of Norway in 2017 and begin commercial production of 1TWh of energy per year for use in Norway.
The intention was to start production on several turbines in 2017 and 2018, with Canada and the UK being the most likely first markets for these turbines.