Ocean-current technology

Voith Hydro

and RWE Innogy have joined forces to form a company that will focus on the development of ocean-current technologies.

The joint venture, operating as Voith Hydro Current Technologies, will be 20 per cent owned by RWE Innogy and 80 per cent by Voith Hydro.

Voith Hydro is a specialist in emission-free power generation. The group has already developed technology that harnesses the power of the ocean without using a gearbox or rotor blade adjustment. It hopes to deploy and test its first 110kW prototype off the South Korean coast.

RWE Innogy, the renewable energy division of the RWE Group, already plans to construct a 4MW power station off the Scottish Coast and a 10.5MW ocean-current power station off the Welsh coast in 2012.

Dr Hubert Lien Hard, chief executive of Voith, said: ‘We are absolutely convinced: ocean-current power stations and hence renewable energy from the seas will be an important building block within the energy mix of the future.

‘The cooperation of two partners of such a high calibre is a milestone in the development and the marketing of this young technology. Our common goal is to make ocean-current technology competitive as quickly as possible,’ he added.

Prof Fritz Vahrenholt, chairman of the board of RWE Innogy, said: ‘This form of renewable power generation has a significant advantage: ocean currents flow continuously and can therefore be predicted with maximum accuracy. As a result, the volume of electricity fed into the grid can be forecast much more precisely than that of any other renewable energy carrier. It is therefore imperative that its potential is tapped.’

Both partners have guaranteed an investment of more than €30m (£26m) over the next few years. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.