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25 Sep 2008 05:09:28

Hydrofoil trials for tidal energy to commence

Hydrofoil trials for tidal energy to commence
Trials of a new tidal energy generation technology are set to take place in the Humber Estuary.

Pulse Tidal, developers of hydrofoil-based tidal generation, have already installed the piles and are to attach the main bulk of their test device this week.

When the equipment is operational, which the company claims will happen next month, it will have a 100 kilowatt rating - enough to power 70 homes.

And if the technology is successful it can easily be scaled up, claims the company.

This is partly a result of the fact that it can be deployed in shallow waters where rotary blades are less effective.

Howard Nimmo, executive director at Pulse Tidal, said: "We believe turbine developers are restricted in one way - tidal resource is limited by its depth in most places."

While the diameter of rotors is limited by the depth of the sea, because hydrofoils run parallel to the sea bed, there is no limit on their length and consequent generating potential.

According to the company, which was granted permission to connect its device to the Millennium Inorganic Chemicals plant on the south bank of the Humber, hydrofoils can deliver three times more energy at shallow depths.

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