Sensor Technology’s non-contact torque sensors are playing a key role in the development of commercial-scale in-stream tidal turbines produced by Irish company, OpenHydro. The company is using the sensors, which are based on surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology, to measure rotational speed and frictional forces in a simulator for the turbine bearings.
OpenHydro is a technology company that designs and manufactures marine turbines to generate renewable energy from tidal streams. The company's vision is to deploy farms of tidal turbines under the world's oceans, where they will dependably generate electricity with no cost to the environment.
Advantages of the Sensor/Turbine Combo
Because the turbines are submerged, they are invisible, and they produce no noise. Also, they are submerged at a considerable depth and present no hazard to shipping. An advantage that is possibly the most important, however, is that the tides are completely predictable, which means that the energy output of the turbines is equally predictable. There are no large seasonal variations and no dependence on the vagaries of the weather, as there are with many other renewable energy sources.
A Good Idea Gone Sour
Apparently, OpenHydro has had its problems. Some of its turbines have not fully delivered on their promise. Obviously, this is no reflection on Sensor Technology’s torque sensors. However, you learn more about certain setbacks by reading “Muddy waters hold OpenHydro turbine broken at bay’s bottom”, “Tides wash away OpenHydro”, and “Ocean Energy Europe ‘disappointed’ at OpenHydro liquidation”, and for more details, visit Sensor Technology Ltd. It appears OpenHydro has no easily findable website as of this date.