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Humber wave trial gets go-ahead

Energy secretary John Hutton has given the go-ahead for a prototype tidal stream generator to be tested in the Humber Estuary near Grimsby.

Planning permission has been granted for the generator which will be positioned off the south bank of the Humber at Upper Burcom near Stallingborough.

The model has been developed by Pulse Tidal Ltd with financial backing of £878,000 from the Government. When it is in the water the pulse generator will be capable of generating up to 0.15MW and will be one of the first tidal power machines to supply the national grid. It will work by extracting energy from underwater currents in a manner similar to wind turbines. Energy from tidal flows will power a pair of straight horizontal hydrofoils, 11 metres in length, which will move up and down like a dolphin's tail.

If it is successful, it will be used 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.

John Hutton said: "This kind of tidal project, if proven, will go some way to helping the UK meet its ambitious targets for clean, green energy."

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