Drive and motor help develop marine renewable energy systems

28 May 2013

A medium voltage drive and matched 12-pole motor are providing the motive power for a new test facility for proving marine energy generating systems.

Project Nautilus, constructed at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec), in the UK, is believed to be the World’s first drive train test facility dedicated to the requirements of the marine renewables sector. The aim is to remove the risks associated with in-field power generation, by allowing Narec customers to perform extreme event and accelerated lifetime testing of new tidal power generation devices in a controlled, onshore environment.

The test facility can mechanically and electrically load the complete drive train with the full envelope of loads, including side loads on to shafts. The ABB 3 MW drive system, used in this application, is capable of testing the complete drive train, electrical generation, control and support systems of marine renewable devices.

ABB was chosen for the project because it could supply a complete turnkey package of drive, motor, switchgear, ancillary equipment and the portable equipment buildings to house them.

A 12-pole 3,256 kW, water-cooled motor acts as the prime mover in the test facility. The motor, which weighs almost 60 tonnes, is designed to develop a high torque with speed accuracy to meet the demands of the test programme. The motor uses hydrostatic bearings and a lubrication and jacking system is incorporated into the motor pedestal.

The ACS 6000 modular medium voltage AC drive system can be configured in single or multidrive solutions on a common DC bus. The 3 MW drive system for Nautilus features a 24-pulse input rectifier for low harmonics. This feeds a common DC bus to which two 11 MVA rated inverter sections are connected.

The two inverter sections feed the prime mover motor double winding. A braking chopper is also connected to the DC bus to allow fast braking of the test facility and device under test in the event of a process or emergency stop requirement and allows energy to be dissipated from the test facility in the event of a mains network power outage. The high power density and compact design and the drive’s communication abilities minimise the overall installation and operational costs.

ABB’s DriveMonitor system is fitted to the drive to provide secure remote access to the drive. ABB also supplied medium and low voltage switchgear, and oil filled input transformer, three oil filled distribution transformers and two portable equipment buildings to house the ACS 6000 variable-speed drive, low voltage and medium voltage switchgear.

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