Underwater kites to provide tidal power
Trials will begin on an innovative new technology using underwater kites to generate power for electricity.
The tidal technology called Deep Green has been developed by Swedish tidal energy device developer Minesto.
The Carbon Trust will provide £350,000 funded by Invest Northern Ireland for the trials off the coast of Northern Ireland.
The radically new concept can operate in slower currents than any other known tidal energy technology.
The kite-like structures carry turbines and are tethered to the seabed. They fly in a figure of eight, steered by a rudder. They accelerate the speed of the water entering the turbine by up to ten times allowing more power to be generated.
The technology is capable of reducing the costs leading of tidal energy dramatically.
If trials are successful, Minesto plans to deploy enough devices around the UK’s coastline to generate up to 530GWh a year by 2020, enough to power the annual electricity needs for all households in a city approximately the size of Newcastle.
Carbon Trust director of innovations, Benj Sykes, said: “The UK boasts some of the best tidal resources in the world and we are focussed on bringing down the cost of extracting that energy.
“Minesto’s 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.
“Tidal energy has the potential to produce up to 18 terawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to over 5% of the UK’s electricity consumption.”
The Carbon Trust research and development grant will support Minesto in gaining site permits for installations, testing survivability in a real sea environment and also develop and verify a model for the cost of energy from the device.