The project, developed by Cranfield University and Sustainable Marine Energy, has been designed to dramatically cut the high installation and maintenance costs and risks traditionally associated with tidal energy devices.

Funded by the Low Carbon KEEP programme, the unique subsea platform, called PLAT-O, allows a number of electricity-generating tidal turbines to be safely installed and taut moored in the sea’s main tidal flow for maximum energy extraction.

Cranfield University has said that the UK’s aging electricity generation infrastructure and reliance on imported fossil fuels and nuclear power is becoming a key concern to the security of UK`s energy supply.

It claims that exploiting the energy of the seas’ tidal flows, where estimates suggest two-thirds of the country’s tidal energy resource is located, could generate up to 8% of the UKs electricity demand.

The platform has undergone a series of successful tank trials, according to Cranfield University’s Dr Florent Trarieux, who headed up a team of academics in the development of the platform.

Dr Trarieux, Cranfield University’s lecturer in Offshore Engineering, said: “Having a prototype deployed at sea in 18 months of development is mind-blowing! This is an excellent framework creating positive incentives for all the stakeholders to deliver the work quickly and efficiently.

“In a new industry such as tidal energy, this could well have a definite impact on who will be the game changers,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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