Breakthrough in tidal power supply

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AN ECO-FRIENDLY energy company from South Yorkshire is squaring up to wind power after proving that its technology can generate predictable flows of electricity from tides flowing in shallow water

Pulse Tidal, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre, says tests in the Humber have now demonstrated that energy can be generated close to the shore, massively reducing the investment needed to install devices in remote locations.

The company says its approach will surpass the wind turbine as the most economic source of offshore power and revealed it is in negotiations over a location for its first full scale project, due to begin operation in 2012.
“The last few months of operation have shown that the Pulse concept offers an economic way to recover predictable, renewable energy from the tides”
Pulse chief executive Bob Smith says: “The last few months of operation have shown that the Pulse concept offers an economic way to recover predictable, renewable energy from the tides”.

“According to the latest industry figures, offshore wind energy costs between 8p and 11p per kWh to produce. We believe that the Pulse system will be more cost effective than offshore wind after only 100 to 200MW has been installed.”

“Pulse’s first device has opened up shallow water resources close to shore for direct connection to end users. Our next device will be much larger, providing power for around 1,000 homes. It will be able to operate in a wide range of water depths, but we will focus initially on the shallow sites since they offer lower cost and are less complex.”

Mr Smith used the opportunity of Pulse’s successful test in the Humber Estuary to call for the Government to offer the same incentives for tidal power as offshore wind power.

He says the Government has increased incentives for offshore wind projects because costs of generating power that way have been rising and he warns that could be a barrier to more cost effective ways of generating power, like Pulse’s tidal system, unless they are treated equally.
“This is a defining moment for Pulse Tidal”
Jamie O’Nians of Pulse investor IT Power, who is project director for the Humber test, said: “This is a defining moment for Pulse Tidal”.

“The success of this project differentiates it from other technologies and places it the a unique and exciting position of generating predictable power from a well understood resource close to the end user. The benefits of shallow water tidal resources are clear and there is now the technology to exploit it.”

Pulse Tidal’s device uses tidal streams in shallow waters off Immingham Dock to move horizontal blades up and down, driving a generator which feeds electricity into Millennium Inorganic Chemicals on the south bank of the Humber, making MIC the first UK company to take a direct feed from tidal power.

Marc Paish, Pulse’s chief technology officer and inventor of the tidal device, paid tribute to the teamwork between IT Power, Humber Work Boats, Corus and Senergy Econnect, which had enabled the company to prove that low cost, reliable, clean energy could be produced from waters close to shore.

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