[I originally published this at CleanTechnica]
One of the world's leading developers of tidal power will partner with a Canadian utility to develop tidal power technology and associated facilities in Canada’s Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.
Working in partnership with the Canadian company Minas Basin Pulp and Power, UK tidal power developers, Marine Current Turbines will demonstrate and deploy a 1.5MW tidal generator that will be connected to the Nova Scotia power grid.
Scott Travers, of Minas Basin Pulp and Power praised the move as an economic boon. "There is a potential new industry here employing hundreds of people in operations and manufacturing and deployment of tidal power technology, here and globally," said Travers in a statement.
The SeaGen turbines to be installed use similar principles found in wind generator technology. The tidal turbines generate power from sea currents using a pair of axial flow turbines that drive generators through gearboxes. However, the high density of seawater compared to wind allows a much smaller system. The capture of kinetic energy from a water current, much like with wind energy or solar energy, depends on how many square meters of flow cross-section can be addressed by the system.
With water current turbines, the rotor swept area that dictates energy capture capability, because it is the cross section of flow that is intercepted which matters. SeaGen has over 400 square meters of rotor area which is why it can develop its full rated power of 1.2MW in a flow of 2.4m/s (5 knots).
Marine Current Turbines is emerging as a big player in the relatively nascent tidal power industry. The company installed the world’s first offshore tidal current device in 2003. And in 2008, it installed and commissioned the 1.2MW SeaGen commercial prototype tidal current turbine in Strangford Narrows in Northern Ireland. SeaGen generated at its full output of 1.2MW onto the local grid in December 2008, becoming the most powerful tidal power turbine in the world.
Image: Courtesy of Dr. I.J. Stevenson