Marine Energy in Second Generation of Grants, Developments

Marine Current Turbines (MCT) was awarded a development grant from the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) grant for GBP 3.85 million (US $7.36 million) towards its GBP 8 million ‘SeaGen’ tidal energy turbine project. SeaGen is the second tidal energy project for the company, and the SeaGen device has the potential to generate 1 MW of electricity from marine currents, according to MCT.

The SeaGen turbine should be installed in UK waters and connected to the National Grid during 2006. It will be three times as powerful as Marine Current Turbines’ existing Seaflow turbine, a 300 kW turbine that was installed off Lynmouth, Devon in May 2003. Martin Wright, the managing director of Marine Current Turbines, said, “The grant, together with the support of our investors, provides a sound platform to take the technology forward and show that tidal energy has a real contribution to make to the UK’s energy mix. We believe we have made a major breakthrough in terms of extracting clean energy from the sea. ” MCT’s Seaflow turbine is successfully operating unattended and remotely controlled, and performing better than the design expectation, according to the company, and the energy capture has been up to 25 percent better than expected. Seaflow has exceeded the original expectations of the project operating-period, and will be run for at least another 12 months in its exposed location. The SeaGen turbine is three times as powerful as Seaflow, according to MCT, with a rated power of 1 MW. The turbine has twin rotors, each driving a 500 kW generator. The location for the SeaGen project is still subject to gaining the statutory consents for its installation. This technology works on the same principles as a windmill, where large underwater rotors shaped like propellers are driven by the strong, flowing water found at certain places in the sea. These rotors drive electrical generators through large gearboxes.
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