An ambitious pilot project involving Nautricity, a Strathclyde spin-out company, has been given the green light – bringing the plans to line London’s River Thames with tidal turbines a step closer to reality.
The venture, called Thames Tidal, is in partnership with the Energy Invest Group and will involve a trial device being moored along the river, which if successful, could eventually provide enough power for 35,000 homes.
Cameron Johnstone, CEO of Nautricity and a Senior Lecturer in the University’s Faculty of Engineering, said "We are delighted to participate in this exciting project to generate tidal electricity in the very heart of the city of London. The demonstration project gives us a real opportunity to demonstrate that tidal electricity facilities using Nautricity’s tidal turbines can be good neighbours with existing river users while making a significant contribution to our national carbon reduction goals."
Nautricity plans to install a 20KW CoRMaT device alongside HQS Wellington, moored at Temple Steps, within the next two months. Energy Invest has already started building a £20,000 jetty by the ship to enable installation and act as a viewing platform for anyone who wants to take a closer look.
Later down the line, larger 250kW to 500KW units will be installed for deeper water conditions. CoRMaT is Nautricity’s innovative contra-rotating turbine which offers significant advantages in terms of its suppressed downstream turbulence, which will mitigate scouring of the river bed and banks.
The test project is designed to allow stakeholders, including the Port of London Authority, to understand how the device works and to kick start a discussion for the extensive planning process.
If the trial is successful, Thames Tidal hopes to install hundreds of tidal turbines, the largest capable of generating up to 500kw, along the river from Westminster to Margate. The spokesman said that this could happen in the next four to five years depending on planning constraints.
Brian Basham, Chairman of EIG, said: "We are delighted to have instigated this initiative and see it as the first in demonstrating the efficacy of this world beating technology in the centre of London that will have application nationwide and, indeed, globally.
"We are immensely grateful for unstinting support we’ve had from all the various authorities, especially the Port Of London Authority and the Master Mariners, in making this happen."
Nautricity aims to become a leading player in the marine tidal energy business through the application of game changing technologies designed to reduce the capital and operating costs of tidal energy schemes.
The CoRMaT marine turbine has been granted a global exclusive licence by the esteemed Energy Systems Research Unit (ESRU) at the University. The device was recently honoured by the Energy Institute who awarded it their prestigious Technology Award.
24 May 2011