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Estuary tidal power prototype to be tested

Planning permission was granted this week for a prototype tidal stream generator to be tested in the Humber Estuary near Grimsby.

The 100kw generator, which will be positioned off the south bank of the Humber at Upper Burcom near Stallingborough, is expected to be operational within three months.

Pulse Tidal director Howard Nimmo said the oscillating foil model which his company has developed for the pilot scheme has a distinct advantage over conventional axial flow turbines for use in estuaries. It doesn't depend on deep water for its cross-sectional energy capture area, he explains.

"Estuaries are ideal sites for tidal energy generation," said Nimmo.

"They generally have a fast tidal flow and are sheltered close to shore and often close to sites of very high power demand. There are also the benefits of avoiding long cables, large structures and heavy seas."

The prototype project has a £2M price tag with financial backing of £878,000 coming from the Government. The remainder is coming from investors including BMT Renewables and CIC Omec.

If the project is successful the next step will be to develop larger 1MW units which could be deployed in arrays, each generating up to 100MW, enough to power the equivalent of 70,000 homes.

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