SCOTTISH engineering company Orbital Marine Power has teamed up with SKF to manufacture power trains for the world’s most powerful tidal turbine.

The contract brings the industrial capabilities of SKF in behind Orbital Marine’s technology to create the upcoming O2 2MW floating tidal turbine. It also provides Orbital – which employs 30 staff in Orkney and Edinburgh – with access to the resources of one of Europe’s largest equipment manufacturers. SKF has an annual turnover of more than £6 billion in global equipment sales and services.

This latest announcement builds on an existing agreement which sees blade pitching hubs for the machine also being supplied by the Swedish-headquartered engineering and manufacturing giant.

Orbital has been working with SKF for the supply bearing and sealing components for both its 250kW unit and the SR2000-2MW unit, which produced in excess of 3GWh of electricity over 12 months.

Talking about the relationship, Orbital Marine’s CEO, Andrew Scott, said: “At Orbital Marine we are about delivering a total, innovative solution that enables low cost tidal stream energy. Commercialising our technology will create an entirely new global market for power generation equipment and services and we are delighted to be working with SKF to unlock this.”

Michael Baumann, business development manager for marine and ocean energy at SKF said: “We are a technical partner to advanced tidal turbine device developers for almost a decade now and are delighted that our long-term partnership with Orbital evolves to the next major step from providing main mechanical sub-systems to fully integrated power train solutions. We see tremendous potential for floating tidal technology due to its low installation and operating costs and are keen to create value-adding solutions for our customers.”

Orbital’s contract with SKF follows recent contract awards as part of the overall build programme for the O2; these include the O2 manufacturing contract to Texo Group in Dundee and a contract to Faun Trackway in Anglesey.

The announcement also follows the Scottish Government’s award of a £3.4m grant to Orbital Marine in August which was drawn from the Scottish Government’s £10m Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund.