Tidal power is one of the major renewable energy sources alongside solar and wind energy, but also the most nascent. Tidal turbines are installed on the seabed in places with high tidal current velocities where energy can be extracted from the flowing water. The submerged rotors harness the power of the marine currents to drive generators, which in turn produce electricity.

Orbital Marine Power, the Scottish developer of floating tidal stream turbines, has awarded Aberdeen-based engineering and technology firm Texo Group a multi-million-pound manufacturing project to create the world most ­powerful turbine of its kind. Texo has won the main ­manufacturing contract for Orbital’s first commercial O2 tidal stream turbine, which will build on its SR2000 ­model that generated more than three gigawatt hours of ­power in its first year of testing at the European Marine Energy ­Centre (EMEC) in Orkney. The engineering group will carry out the work at its quayside facilities at the Port of Dundee.

Orbital claims that the O2 unit, capable of generating in excess of two megawatts from tidal stream resources, will be the world’s most powerful tidal turbine when it enters operation next year as part of a long-term project at EMEC. At 600 square metres, the rotor area on the 72-metre model will also be the largest on a single tidal generating platform to date and will feature innovations focused on reducing the cost of energy production.

Orbital chief executive Andrew Scott said: “The results that we achieved with the SR2000 over the past two years are a convincing validation of our low-cost approach to generating clean, predictable power from tidal stream energy. The Orbital team are really excited to be building on that success with the O2, which we are ­confident will further reduce costs and cement our position at the forefront of this exciting new renewable ­sector.

Tidal energy holds enormous potential for energy generation in countries situated by the ocean, the southern region of Nigeria being an ideal site. It is estimated that around 1 terrawatt of exploitable power is stored in the oceans. Tidal energy has often been considered as a difficult feat of engineering due to risks and logistical cumbersomeness of offshore engineering work. With more research being poured into the concept and more countries embracing it, it is expected that the technology will soon become commonplace like solar and wind energy.

source: The Scotsman

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