Strangford Lough Test and Demonstration Site
In Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, we operate a state-of-the-art test and demonstration facility for testing in offshore conditions. This R&D platform enables safe, efficient and cost-effective development of the Deep Green technology.
At Minesto’s test and demonstration site in Strangford Lough, the Deep Green technology has been undergoing open sea testing in scale models since 2010. In 2013, a major step in the technology development was made as testing of a scale prototype with a 3-meter wing was initiated, verifying Deep Green’s functionality and power production.
Location of the Strangford Lough site
Strangford Lough is the largest inlet in the British Isles and is linked to the Irish Sea by a long narrow channel or strait. Minesto’s test site is located in that strait just outside the town of Portaferry. The proximity between the test site in the lough and our offices and workshop in Portaferry enables efficient and cost-effective test and development operations.
The R&D focus at the test site has since 2013 remained on 3-meter wing prototypes. The overall goal is to prove and improve functionality and power performance, to underpin the commercial viability of the technology. In tests during the summer and fall of 2016, the prototype generated an output of more than 3 kW at a tidal current velocity of 0.8 m/s. The results correspond to full power production for a commercial-scale 0.5MW power plant at 1.75 m/s current velocity.
At the test site, we can deploy the power plant both from a surface-mounted postition as well as from a bottom joint installation at the seabed. The video above shows a 3-meter Deep Green prototype "flying" from the test platform in Strangford Lough. This test mode is mainly used for demonstration purposes, but it also shows the principle of how Deep Green can be deployed at large depth locations where seabed installations is impossible.
Combining design, simulation and open sea testing
The offshore testing is combined with analysis and design work to further optimise fundamental parts of the power plant. Minesto has an integrated continuous development process, utilising high-tech simulation tools and subsystem testing before verification in Strangford Lough. The iterative R&D process entails risk mitigation and cost reducations, and strengthens the development towards commercial installations.
Development of installation, operation and maintenance procedures is also ongoing and health and safety measures can be tested and verified. Knowledge gained from these activities provides essential contribution to the offshore operations that are currently being established in our commercial-scale Deep Green project in Wales.
Environmental assessments are carried out in each project to assess the envinronmental interaction between Deep Green and the subsea environment. For example, extensive mammal surveillance is carried out in advance, during, and after each trial.