Rolls Royce sees potential in UK tidal

Quintessentially British power systems company Rolls-Royce has set its sights on becoming part of the UK renewable revolution through the development of a record-breaking tidal energy system, created by its […]

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By Tom Gibson

Quintessentially British power systems company Rolls-Royce has set its sights on becoming part of the UK renewable revolution through the development of a record-breaking tidal energy system, created by its subsidiary Tidal Generation Limited.

The 500kW tidal turbine, situated underwater off the Orkney Islands, has generated and fed over 100MWh of electrical power into the national grid. As part of the Deep-Gen III project, co-funded by the UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board, the prototype tidal turbine is the first European Marine Energy Centre project to receive both Renewable Obligation Certificates and to reach 100 MWh of supply to the grid.

The three-bladed turbine is attached by a tripod to the seabed and can operate, fully submerged at a depth of 40 meters. Its design allows the turbine to continually rotate to face the tide. Rolls-Royce say their tidal technology could generate up to 30TWh of electricity, enough to power 3 million UK homes.

Robert Stevenson, Vice-President of Rolls-Royce Power Ventures said: “Reaching the 100 megawatt hours milestone highlights the significant potential of cleaner, greener tidal power as part of a diversified UK energy mix. Having proven the capability of tidal energy, Rolls-Royce is well placed to meet any future demand with larger, more efficient technology on a commercial scale.”

The company are currently working on another prototype to be deployed at EMEC in Orkney that may generate twice as much electricity.