Spain enters the tidal energy market with the ATIR prototype

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Competition in the tidal energy market now has a Spanish player. Magallanes Renovables SL (MRSL), based in Redondela, Galicia, Spain has rolled out its US$1.2 million prototype ATIR floating turbine in sea trials held on 28 November at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland. MRSL is the only company based in Spain that has researched, developed and deployed equipment that produces electricity generated from tidal energy.

Installed at the EMEC Shapinsay Sound test site, the ATIR prototype platform is 6 metres long and 2.3 metres wide. Researchers think that the knowledge gained from this 1:10 scale prototype will be crucial in the construction and deployment of a much larger floating platform that will be 42 metres long, 25 metres wide and weighing 350 tonnes. The prototype’s two rotors will each produce 1 MW of energy from its trimaran design, resulting in an annual production of 86 GW. The ATIR captures energy from ocean currents via submerged three-bladed rotors that rotate in opposite directions. Through on-board generators, blade movement is converted into electricity.

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Final figures for the research are still not available, but the Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network (Marinet), the European Commission (EU), government agencies in Spain and private sources are financing the Maganalles project. Construction of the full-scale ATIR is set to begin after the EMEC trials, according to published reports.