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Mull of Kintyre set to host CoRMaT tidal current turbine

The Mull of Kintyre is to be the first test site for a new generation of tidal energy technology following the award of development and demonstration funding by the Scottish government to Nautricity.

Glasgow-based Nautricity will use the £1.4m award towards the £4.9m cost of deploying its CoRMaT tidal current turbine (TCT) in the sea, south of Machrihanish.

The money was provided in the second round of WATERS (Wave & Tidal Energy: Research, Development & Demonstration Support) funding to enable Scottish developers and supply chain companies to capture an increased share of the growing international marine energy market, which could be worth up to £4bn to Scotland’s economy by 2020.

Electricity generated by the device will be fed into the electrical network. It is hoped the testing phase can begin as early as next summer and completed by March 2014, with plans for full-scale commercial deployment ready to begin soon after.

The device, which is said to be capable of generating 500kW of electricity, uses a patented rotor system that overcomes many of the problems that have made tidal energy production uneconomic until now.

While conventional tidal devices resemble wind turbines mounted on the seabed, incurring deployment and engineering costs, CoRMaT is a small capsule, tethered to a sub-surface float, which uses a novel, contra-rotating rotor-generator system to effectively harness tidal energy.

Nautricity, a Strathclyde University spin-out company, has already signed a lease agreement to develop the Kintyre installation with the Crown Estate which, as owner of the UK seabed out to 12 nautical miles, will be the overall guardian and facilitator of the project.

The company is now in discussions with Marine Scotland, the government department responsible for the management of Scotland’s seas, to progress licensing and planning issues.

Cameron Johnstone, chief executive of Nautricity, said: ‘We were already well advanced with plans to deploy our CoRMaT technology, but this award helps significantly to accelerate this deployment and will be the first deployment of a full-scale, second-generation tidal technology in the UK.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • I do hope all goes well with this installation & we quickly put down as many more as we can. Hopefully enough to meet all or most of the counries needs, thus saving much oil & not so reliant on unsightly windmills.

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  • I second Ken's best wishes for this project, it is staggering that R&D into this area is not better funded! The advantages are clear:- An absolutely consistent and predictable source of energy, much higher energy density than wind.
    Why oh why have we endlessly pursued wind technologies when its very inconsistency makes it inappropriate for anything but a top up source of energy?
    If we are serious about green energy then the most important part of energy supply to replace is that which supplies our base load, at the moment coal, gas and nuclear, any replacement has to be totally reliable and dependable, wind can never be that, nor can PV.
    Our government seems completely unable to understand that basic principle.

    Why the huge subsidies for wind generation and relaxation of planning laws etc for this flawed source of energy?
    Especially as none of those technologies as far as I am aware are British owned or run? The government should be putting OUR money into Our country not giving it to other countries to boost their industries.

    The Scottish government should be congratulated for this forward thinking piece of investment and the English government should be paying attention!!

    Who knows when Scotland secedes from the Union, if they have patented this technology they may get back some of the oil money that the English "stole" from them!!!

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  • Completely agree with the other posters.

    We should ditch the multibillion pound subsidy to Germany (it's scary how little of our money goes to British industry) in exchange for vast arrays of expensive (to install, operate and decommission) wind turbines and plough the savings from this into such research projects.

    Wave and tidal particularly are the future of renewable energy in the UK, which our industries should be perfecting and successfully exporting to the world.

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  • This may be a successful project or it may founder along with many previous attempts to design an energy generator able to survive the inhospitable sea. It isn’t difficult to see why wind power has survived. It’s simply the cheapest successful renewable energy source yet devised. Tidal generators don’t have to just survive, they have to produce power at a cost competitive with wind.
    You don’t have to look far to see that German and French companies are already buying up companies with potential to successfully produce power from the sea.

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  • Malcolm. You have made two conflicting statements. Wind is better & cheaper (Arguable!) vs. the Germans/French(who we supposedly spend millions with for Wind equipment) are buying into Wave & tidal. Which beggars the question....why?.

    Perhaps the Germans/French are realising that:
    1)- Tidal is better all round for 'green' power generation, and
    2)- Subsidies from all quarters will in future focus more and more upon the most effective, rather than the most visible.

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