LONDON Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) are using Contrinex Series 700 inductive sensors, which are designed specifically for marine applications, in wave power generators being tested in Scotland.
The European Community is the sponsor of OPD (Edinburgh, Scotland) at the European Marine Energy Test Centre in Orkney. If successful, the trial site will be expanded and additional sites commissioned. OPD is also working with the Portuguese utility company, Grupo Enersis, on a full-scale wave power site situated off the Portuguese coast that will create sufficient power for a small town.
OPD has tapped into the marine and off-shore expertise in Scotland and has designed and built some of the most advanced and biggest wave energy converters ever constructed. The principle of operation is that as waves pass over the hinged, multi-hulled installations they flex, displacing hydraulic fluid that is fed through turbines linked to power generators.
OPD is using the 700 range of marine-standard inductive sensors supplied by Swiss-based Contrinex's U.K subsidiary in Pangbourne, to monitor the fully automated mooring and disconnection system. The control of this underwater mooring mechanism in zero-visibility conditions is vital to the success of the operation and has to be totally reliable during docking, commissioning, in-service generation and removal for maintenance to avoid damage to the generator and the latching mechanism and to prevent the possibility of losing an extremely expensive generator.
Typical mooring sites present a highly aggressive environment so it essential that the sensors are both environmentally protected against ingress of salt water and physically robust to avoid collision damage during docking.
The S700 sensors are made from a single piece of V4A stainless steel, including the sensing face, and are impervious to seawater and salt spray and will not rust even in the most severe maritime environments. They can also withstand extreme impact and are resistant to virtually any chemical stress.