Turbine Technology Is Turning The Tides Into Power Of The Future

United Kingdom – April 7, 2008 – Times

The SeaGen Tidal System

The SeaGen Tidal System

The world’s very first deep-water turbine technology installation to create electrical energy from the rise and fall of the tides on scale will begin running within weeks.

A seagoing crane barge has successfully lifted the 1,000-tonne twin turbine into its sea bed location and a procedure to anchor it to the seabed using 12 metre (40 ft) piles started today.

The project is the SeaGen Tidal System on Strangford Lough in Co Down, Northern Ireland. It is engineered to produce sufficient electrical power to provide for the demand from 1,000 houses.

The technology has been developed by Marine Current Turbines (MCT) and put together at the famous Harland and Wolff docks, in Belfast. The tidal power unit boasts 2 16 metre blades which will be rotated by the tide-water flowing in and out of Strangford Lough at speeds as high as 8 knots.

Managing director of MCT, Martin Wright, stated: “By the middle of May we will certainly have finished the bulk of the commissioning. We will begin by rotating the turbine blades by hand-power. Subsequently, we’ll move on to testing the blades under low loads until, by July, we hope the equipment will be completely trial tested, and commissioned”.

“If this succeeds, we are seeking to develop, at the end of 2010 or most likely 2011, a tidal energy farm. That will, we hope, be off-shore on the Anglesey coastline”.

Mr Wright stated that the present state of tidal energy innovation was comparable in air travel terms to the very first biplanes. Developments are advancing swiftly, nevertheless, and companies based in Britain are playing a central function in the newly emerging tidal power market.

SeaGen technology development is being taken forward, and at the same time the Government has also provided approval for a prototype generator, to be established by Pulse Tidal, with this to be trialled in the Humber estuary, close to Grimsby.

The £900,000 Pulse Tidal trial includes 11 metre hydrofoils that ascend and descend with the tide in a manner like a dolphin’s tail to produce electrical energy. The comparably diminuitivelittle prototype device has been created to have a capability to produce 0.15 megawatts, however if effective a variety of 1 MW generators would be built to provide enough power to supply 70,000 houses.

Due to the fact that the speed and power of the tidal stream at the Strangford Lough and Anglesey sites, are amongst the finest places that exist in the UK, for tidal energy turbine structures.

The holy grail for tidal energy professionals, nevertheless, is the Pentland Firth, in between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands, where approximately 3 million tonnes of water shoots though a narrow strip of sea every second. Mr Wright explained that the Pentland Firth was “a potentially hugely rewarding site, like a middle east wellfield if it was oil”, however he also stated that the innovation needed to maximize the area was “a generation ahead of us”. As soon as achievable it might provide as much as 15 per cent of Britain’s electrical energy.

He concluded that: “Tidal energy has the terrific benefit of being foreseeable, and no other technology yet invented can harness the power of the tidal surges using the technique this one uses.”

Lunar Energy, another tidal energy innovation company, hopes later on this year to start setting up the world’s very first tidal farm in Pembrokeshire. The 8 turbines are anticipated to be functional by 2010.

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