Record-breaking testing reveals potential for next generation marine turbine

MaREI at the University of Galway has announced successful testing of a next-generation marine hydrokinetic turbine foil for renewable energy.

The technology was designed by US-headquartered global leader in marine energy ORPC Ireland and fabricated by ÉireComposites, based Inverin, Co Galway. 

The testing programme is part of the €3.9 million European Commission’s Horizon 2020-funded CRIMSON project and involved 1.3 million fatigue cycles on the turbine foil – the highest number ever reported on a full-scale marine energy component in dry laboratory conditions.

The tests were led by the Sustainable and Resilient Structures Research Group at University of Galway, which is part of the Enterprise Ireland-supported technology centre Construct Innovate and the University’s Ryan Institute.

The 5m long foil is made from high-performance, carbon fibre reinforced polymer. It is shaped similarly to an airplane wing. When placed perpendicular to river or tidal currents, the foils spin under that force and the technology sends clean, renewable energy via an underwater generator. Three of these foils combine in each of two turbines in the 80kW RivGen marine hydrokinetic energy device.

The technology underwent intense stress testing in the University’s Large Structures Testing Laboratory to demonstrate its ability to withstand operational loads over its design lifetime.

Recently, it featured on the TG4 Nuacht: 

“The findings from this full-scale structural testing programme help to de-risk ORPC’s technology and give insights that can be used for structural health monitoring and inform the next generation of testing standards. The combination of such high-level design and manufacturing with University of Galway’s state-of-the-art testing will improve the reliability of river and tidal energy devices as they move closer to commercial viability.”
Dr William Finnegan
Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator of CRIMSON
University of Galway
“ÉireComposites is delighted that the turbine foils we manufactured have performed so well during testing. The foils have a complex helical shape and are challenging to manufacture; they are a credit to the engineers and technicians who worked on the project. We’re delighted to see our work with ORPC Ireland, University of Galway, and the other partners coming to fruition and we’re excited about the commercial potential for marine hydrokinetic devices in delivering clean, sustainable energy. At a time when global interest is focused on achieving a net-zero emission future, it is great to be making advances in the technology that supports this global shift.”
Tomás Flanagan
Chief Executive
“ORPC are bringing clean, predictable, emission-free tidal and river energy to markets around the globe, and this important research is helping to maximise design efficiency and minimise power system costs as global demand for underwater renewable power systems continues to be strong. We are delighted to collaborate with our Irish research partners, University of Galway and ÉireComposites, to move our next-generation power systems to market, and we look forward to the next stage of the project.”
Patrick Cronin
Director of European Operations
ORPC Ireland
Feature Project


The CRIMSON project will bring to market a reliable, sustainable, marine energy turbine, and is underpinned by the application of novel materials and an advanced manufacturing process.

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