The development of PowerFrame follows discussions with potential customers and the Environment Agency to ensure that the end product has all the features required to make it efficient, reliable, easy to install, robust and fish friendly. The patented innovative machine has been developed under the umbrella of a conventional milestone-based New Product Development process. This ensures that the necessary checks and balances are in place to ensure a balance of quality, timescale and cost. Both European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Lloyds Register standards for design processes have been incorporated.
PowerFrame itself is the result of the following decisions.
- An analysis between the use of an axial propeller turbine or a Darrieus variant. The Darrieus turbine was selected due to its performance under test conditions.
- Careful selection of the wet bearings.
- Use of a magnetic coupling to drive the generator so that its submerged enclosure has no opening.
- The generator is a high efficiency permanent magnet type.
- A stiff support frame with a hydrodynamic section to reduce loadings on the attachment system.
- The use of feet to protect eels which may be in the river bed.
- A float system which also warns river users of the presence of PowerFrame.
- Navigation marks to Trinity House and regulatory authority requirements.
- It fits onto a lorry completely finished so that on site assembly work is not required.
- Fully assembled and tested by ourselves in our factory set up for the purpose.
- Development tests carried out in our test facilities in the River Arun with its real life environment adjacent to the factory with the support of Littlehampton Harbour Board.
Saunders Energy Limited has a policy of continuous technology advancement and development. Future developments planned include a Knock Down Kit (KDK) for ease of shipping and an offshore version for installation in an array.