By Topic

Harnessing tidal energy takes new turn

Sign In

Cookies must be enabled to login.After enabling cookies , please use refresh or reload or ctrl+f5 on the browser for the login options.

Formats Non-Member Member
$31 $13
Learn how you can qualify for the best price for this item!
Become an IEEE Member or Subscribe to
IEEE Xplore for exclusive pricing!
close button

puzzle piece

IEEE membership options for an individual and IEEE Xplore subscriptions for an organization offer the most affordable access to essential journal articles, conference papers, standards, eBooks, and eLearning courses.

Learn more about:

IEEE membership

IEEE Xplore subscriptions

1 Author(s)

With the idea of underwater windmills in mind, Peter Fraenkel, a mechanical engineer, assembled investors in 1999 to launch the Seaflow project and formed the company Marine Current Turbines Ltd. (MCT, Basingstoke, England). The mission of Seaflow was to build a commercial tidal energy plant based on the windmill concept. Backing came from the British government, the European Commission, and eight private British and German companies. MCT and its partners have built a working tidal mill in the English Channel off the coast of Devon, in southwest England. The 130-metric-ton unit is cemented to the seabed about 1.1 km from the coast, rising a few meters above sea level. Tidal currents turn the 11-meter-long rotor, but as they reverse direction, the rotor's blades can be pitched to accept flow from the opposite direction. Though the rotor turns slowly in water, which is 800 times as dense as air, at 17 rpm the speed is sufficient, with appropriate gearing, to harness the tide's immense energy and drive a turbine. Rotor speed varies, as with variable-speed wind turbines on land or sea, and a power-conditioning system-involving AC-DC-AC conversion-is used to obtain a current output at the grid frequency of 50 Hz. The result is an average of 100 kW and a peak of 300 kW of power, enough for 200 average British homes when hooked into the grid, according to MCT.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 9 )