STROMNESS, Scotland -- ScotRenewables isn't aiming to build the most efficient tidal turbine in the world. It wants to build the easiest one to repair.
The startup, located on the Orkney Islands, way north of Scotland, has raised £6.2 million to build a working prototype of a floating tidal turbine that it says will be cheaper to install and maintain than others being tested now. The body of the commercial version of the turbine – a long 40-meter tube of metal with a point at the end – will face directly into the tide and float on the surface of the water. Below, two turbines attached to fins will convert the power of the tides into electricity. An 8-meter-long prototype, ideally, will go into the water at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Tidal Test Site that sits just down the road from ScotRenewables in 2010. Commercial versions of the turbine will weigh 250 tons, but generate 1.2 megawatts of power.
"We want to be competitive with offshore wind," says Barry Johnston.
Of course, that's all in theory right now. ScotRenewables only has a one-meter prototype and some computer simulations. But the idea is interesting and could cut operating costs drastically. Check out the video. It also shows a conference room company employees built from a wind turbine and a homemade wave tank.