This paper presents the development and testing of Gator, a hydraulic Power Take Off (PTO) being commercialised for the Aquaculture market. Gator uses a novel polymer bellows to pump pressurised water through a power take off system, while also providing a non-linear force response that reduces mooring line loads over traditional mooring lines.
The Gator system is comprised of 4 distinct subsystems: The Gator pump, hydraulics, turbine, and electrical storage & control. The Gator pump is a polymer component that compresses under load, pumping water through check valves into the hydraulic system. The connected hydraulic system takes the pressurised water, regulates the pressure and flow rates with an accumulator, and provides a steady flow of water to the turbine, generating electricity.
This paper will provide an overview of the technical development of the Gator system over several phases, which has focussed its adaptation for use in the aquaculture industry as an inline pump on cage mooring lines.
A description of comprehensive testing undertaken on a linear test rig to simulate the variable loading that the system would experience in operation will be provided as well as some of the early characterisation results from this testing.