Sheffield-based Pulse Tidal is to receive a grant of €8m (£7.3m) from the EU’s technology research and development fund (Framework Programme 7) to enable the company to begin work developing its first fully commercial tidal-energy generator.
The 1MW generator will be commissioned in 2012 and will provide electricity for up to 1,000 homes.
Alongside this finance, the company has signed contracts with a group of international companies to develop the commercial device and form a secure supply chain for volume production.
Pulse has developed a system whereby tidal streams move horizontal blades up and down to drive a generator. Its 100kW test rig in the Humber estuary currently feeds power into a chemicals company on the banks of the river.
Bob Smith, Pulse chief executive and the former chief development officer at BP Solar, said: ‘We have developed an economic way to recover predictable, renewable energy from the tides and are entering a young market predicted to be worth at least £6bn annually in electricity sales.’
The EU grant has been awarded to the team of Pulse and its seven supply-chain partners to fund 50 per cent of the development of Pulse’s full-scale commercial generator. The remaining 50 per cent will be provided by private investment.
The project team brings together all of the skills needed to develop and supply the commercial Pulse product – Bosch Rexroth will provide the hydraulics, Herbosch Kiere the installation, DNV the certification, IT Power the engineering, Niestern Sander the construction, the Fraunhofer IWES for the control and electrical systems, and Gurit for the composites.
‘We are negotiating the location for our first full-scale 1MW project, providing power for up to 1,000 homes. This will begin operation in 2012,’ said Smith.
Pulse had previously secured £2.7m through investment from Marubeni, IT Power, Life-IC and the Viking Fund, along with some individuals and government grants.
Following a successful £765,000 funding round in 2009, the company is currently engaged in fundraising to match the EU grant.