The Engineering Business to receive £1.1M DTI grant for tidal stream renewable offshore power generation demonstrator

Energy Minister Brian Wilson today announced the award of a £1.1 million grant to The Engineering Business Limited of Riding Mill, Northumberland for further development of their Stingray tidal stream power generation system. This award follows on from a three-month feasibility study, supported by the DTI, in 2001. The new grant will support the design, manufacture, installation, operation and evaluation of the system. Potential sites in the Shetland Islands have been identified, and consent applications for the site will be submitted shortly.

The award was announced by Mr Wilson during the debate on the recent report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on wave and tidal energy. He said:

Tidal energy has great potential but little has happened until now. The challenge has always been harnessing this energy economically in rough conditions. This project is technologically impressive and may be a solution to the challenge.

I am determined that we should take a lead in the development of this new technology. All too often, clever British ideas have not manifested into the manufacture and finally, the distribution, of the final product. I am determined to not let this happen again. That is why, on top of the Government’s initial money to research the feasibility of the concept, I have today allocated this grant to see the project through to completion.

This is a particularly wonderful opportunity for the North East as this new technology offers the opportunity to build a large new industry in the region. Potential for manufacturing is an important part of the case in favour of developing our renewables industry.

“This is a great opportunity for Britain, the North East of England, the Shetland Islands and the Engineering Business, to become international leaders in the tidal stream electricity generation industry. Stingray technology is technically robust and offers the potential to build a large new industry in a sector of the UK economy where new development is urgently required”, notes Dr Tony Trapp, Managing Director of The Engineering Business.

The Stingray system generates electricity from the oscillatory movement of hydroplanes driven by flowing tidal current. This transforms the kinetic energy of moving water into hydraulic power, which turns an electrical generator using a hydraulic motor. This system builds on the wide experience that The Engineering Business has in marine equipment design and manufacture.

EB invented and patented the oscillating hydroplane device in 1997 and subsequently won a DTI SMART Award in 1998, which provided 75 percent of the funds for a £51,000 R & D project to assess the feasibility of the concept. Since late 1999 EB has been developing the Stingray generator, which is a device mounted on the seabed, reducing the need to protect it from storm effects.

As part of the Stingray programme EB is working with a number of universities including Newcastle, Durham, Glasgow and Robert Gordon in Aberdeen. Technology development and manufacture will be on Tyneside. Installation and operation is planned to be in Shetland.

In 2001, under the New and Renewable Energy Programme, the DTI awarded EB 75% funding for a 3 month fast-track feasibility study into the installation of a 150 kW demonstrator. The success of this study resulted in the award of the latest grant today. The Stingray demonstrator will be designed, manufactured, installed and operated by EB who are providing the remaining funding for the project. EB has been encouraged by the enthusiastic support of Shetland Islands Council and One NorthEast, and assistance from Scottish & Southern Energy.

For more information, visit The Engineering Business web site.

For further information contact Dr Tony Trapp

Tel: +44 (0)1434 682 800

Fax: +44 (0)1434 682 801

E-mail: [email protected]


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