Weighing more than 150 tonnes and stretching to 20m long, with a beam of 14m, the Proteus NP1000 consists of a steel hull, vertically mounted turbine, and buoyancy chambers.

The delicate operation to move the Proteus demonstrator by crane from its position on the dockside in Sunderland, to a specially constructed frame on a waiting barge, was completed successfully on Wednesday 30th June. This was followed by the barge being towed by tug, with the Proteus safely secured, through the Sunderland Harbour lock gates, to the open sea which required careful coordination given that there was only a metre of clearance on each side. The Proteus Demonstrator reached the William Wright Dock Hull at the weekend, and was lowered into the water, to start a period of final commissioning before it embarks on an intensive three months of trials. When in place it is anticipated that the Neptune Proteus NP1000 will be able to generate at least 1000MWh/yr.

“We are extremely pleased that the Proteus Demonstrator is now very much a reality. Its deployment is the culmination of five years of intensive efforts by Neptune and our partners and is a real first for the region, as we will be the only company to have a full-scale tidal stream power plant up and running in the Humber. Although we had hoped, initially, to have commissioned the Proteus at the start of the year, the additional time spent on preparing the unit should pay dividends when it comes to the three months of trials which lie ahead,” said Nigel Petrie, Chairman, NREL.

The Humber Estuary was specifically chosen by Neptune for the first deployment of the Proteus as its depth and tidal flow is considered one of the best locations in the British Isles for tidal stream power whilst it is also relatively close to the company’s base in North Ferriby. The Company’s location has also enabled the design to be refined and naval architects IMT/OSD Marine, engineers Water Hydraulics, Ormston Technology in Beverley and Dane Electrical Engineering in Filey, all playing key roles to make the project a reality.

NREL sees a number of practical benefits from focusing its efforts on estuarine locations such as the Humber, specifically: the proximity of the generating capacity to the grid or distribution supply points; the absence of wave activity on the structure as it can be moored in sheltered areas; and being close to land simplifies installation and maintenance.


The Proteus Demonstrator being put on a barge at the shipyard (Wear Dock) in Sunderland where it was constructed


William Wright Dock in Hull, where the Proteus Demonstrator has been put into the water for final tests.

Related Articles
A powerful proposition