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Harnessing tidal energy more efficiently than ever before

Date:
October 26, 2010
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Researchers are developing a tidal turbine which has the potential to harness tidal energy more efficiently and cheaply, using a device which is simpler, more robust and more scaleable than current designs.

The new design of tidal turbine.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

A new company, Kepler Energy Limited, has been formed to develop a tidal turbine which has the potential to harness tidal energy more efficiently and cheaply, using a device which is simpler, more robust and more scaleable than current designs.

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The turbine is the result of research in Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science by Professor Guy Houlsby, Professor of Civil Engineering, Dr Malcolm McCulloch, head of the electrical power group, and Professor Martin Oldfield, Emeritus Professor of the thermofluids laboratory.

Kepler Energy Limited will design, test and develop a horizontal axis water turbine intended to intersect the largest possible area of current. The rotor is cylindrical and rolls around its axis, thereby catching the current. The researchers received 50,000 in funding from the Oxford University Challenge Seed fund, managed by Isis Innovation, to build a 0.5 metre diameter prototype demonstrating the benefits of the design. A full-scale device would measure up to 10 metres in diameter, and a series of turbines can be chained together across a tidal channel.

UK waters are estimated to offer 10 per cent of the global extractable tidal resource. Tidal currents are sub-surface, so tidal turbines have minimum visual impact, unlike wind farms or estuary barrage schemes.

Tom Hockaday, managing director at Isis Innovation said: 'This is the latest in a number of spin-outs from the Department of Engineering Science. Isis is fortunate to work with such an entrepreneurial department, particularly on technologies which have the potential to make a big impact on our energy supply.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Harnessing tidal energy more efficiently than ever before." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026132204.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2010, October 26). Harnessing tidal energy more efficiently than ever before. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026132204.htm
University of Oxford. "Harnessing tidal energy more efficiently than ever before." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026132204.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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