Industry teams up with academia to drive down tidal costs

Oceanographers at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences have teamed up with Nortek, and Partrac, to study ocean turbulence with the aim of reducing the costs associated with tidal energy devices.

Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences are launching a project to study tidal turbulence at the Menai Strait in Wales, after having been awarded two grants totaling £230,000.

The tidal turbulence project will be executed as two related projects, with the first focusing on the collection of novel turbulence data in Menai Strait and further offshore to the North-West of Anglesey.

The project’s goal is to further develop the expertise in acoustic and optical observation techniques pioneered at Bangor University.

The second project will focus on advancing the measurement of turbulence in energetic tidal flows, with researchers also working in the natural laboratory of the Menai Strait.

Martin Austin from Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences, said: “The shallow seas around the UK represent one of the best tidal energy resources globally, accounting for some 10% of the global total. In consequence, the tidal energy industry is an emerging and steadily growing sector of the UK economy.”

This team of specialists will set out to improve the assessment of risks associated with turbulence, and by doing so, help reduce development costs, leading to cheaper energy from the tides.

The oceanographic instrument manufacturer, Nortek, said the findings from the project will be integrated into its innovative product development.

The grants for the projects were awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2).