Monday, March 31, 2008

Titanic effort to convert Strangford’s tide into electrical power

Seagen Tidal Turbine Blades

Reuters UK news agency carried a story last week about Harland & Wolff diversifying into producing large renewable energy generators. Sticking to their watery roots, they’ve assembled the 1.2 megawatt SeaGen tidal energy converter that will be placed in Strangford Lough later this week to provide power for around 1,000 homes starting this summer.

The installation was postponed from last August when the necessary jack-up installation vessel Jumping Jack was held up on another contract.

But a mention of the Titanic is never far away when a journalist types the phrase Harland & Wolff. So there are a few of paragraphs reminding readers about the firm’s history and continuing legacy:

“Despite becoming a symbol of disaster worldwide, the memory of the ship Titanic is cherished by many in Northern Ireland as an example of its historic industrial importance.

The Titanic, the world’s largest ship at the time, was built in 1912 and sank after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton in England to New York. Almost 1,500 people died because there were not enough lifeboats for all on board.

In Belfast there is even a new 135-acre “Titanic Quarter” under construction to offer thousands of apartments and space for offices, education and hotels in what its builders say is Europe’s largest waterfront development.”

It's not actually clear if H&W actually built the turbine - it may only have been shipped into Northern Ireland via their dock!

The advertising for Blueprint – BBC NI’s landmark multi-platform series which hits our screens on Monday night at 9pm looking – also found the twin yellow cranes irresistible in their marketing campaign.

But I can’t find an online copy of the picture ... so you’ll have to imagine a flooded Belfast Lough with just the top of the cranes peeping out of the ice water until I locate a copy. And in the meantime, enjoy the image of a City Hall free from asbestos and refurbishment!

(c) 2008 BBC - Blueprint - Belfast city centre (City Hall and Big Rickety Wheel) suffering from a high water table

Update - 10 April - at lunchtime, finally walked past the image I was looking for - up on a billboard.

BBC NI Blueprint advertising poster - showing one of the Harland & Wollf cranes (David or Goliath) encased in ice

1 comment:

Alan in Belfast said...

Oops ... not all going to plan!

During testing "a programming fault led to damage to one of the blades" ... so "the date for supplying full power has now slipped into early autumn at best."

New blades are being ordered. Oops.