A PROTOTYPE power generator designed to convert the energy of ocean currents into electricity was launched for trials off the Shetland coast this week.
The trials will last two months and are claimed to be the first time that full scale tests on power generation using tidal streams has been tried in a real ocean environment.
Engineering Business's £1.8M 'Stingray' generator harnesses tidal stream energy by using a hydroplane to drive an oscillating arm. This pumps hydraulic rams connected to a motor.
Stingray is expected to produce more than 150kW of electricity. It will be left in 36m of water in Yell Sound off the Isle of Shetland for at least a year, said EB technical director Tim Grinsted.
The trials are backed by the Department of Trade & Industry, which wants to find new renewable energy technologies so Britain can meet pollution reduction targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol.
Britain has pledged to produce 10% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2010, increasing to 20% by 2020.