Carbon Trust to fund testing of Deep Green device that promises to tap tidal energy potential in slow-moving currents
Underwater kites generating electricity from tidal flows could take off along Britain’s coastline if a new trial backed by a £350,000 grant from the Carbon Trust proves successful.
The trial device, which will be one-tenth the size of the proposed design, consists of a turbine carried by a kite tethered to the seabed. Steered by a rudder, the kite moves in a figure-of-eight shape, accelerating the speed of the water entering the turbine by up to 10-fold.
Minesto says the innovative design not only allows more power to be generated at a lower cost, but could provide economically viable energy from low-velocity tidal streams for the first time.
The research and development grant will help Minesto secure site installation permits, test the device’s resilience in a real sea environment, and work out the potential cost of energy for the full-scale Deep Green device.
If trials are successful, the company plans to deploy enough devices to generate up to 530GWh a year by 2020 – that’s enough to power all the houses in a city the size of Newcastle.
Minesto previously raised more than €2m (£1.69m) in new capital investment last year to help test a prototype of the device after Time magazine listed the project as one of the 50 best inventions of 2010. The company has also benefited from the Carbon Trust’s Marine Energy Accelerator programme in the past.
“Deep Green is a very exciting technology as it could provide a step-change reduction in the cost of tidal energy and open up swathes of the UK’s coast to generating electricity,” said Benj Sykes, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust. “Tidal energy has the potential to produce up to 18 terawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to over five per cent of the UK’s electricity consumption.”
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