Universities team up for tidal energy generation research

Four UK universities have teamed up for a new £200,000 research project that will explore the new ways to generate power from the tides.

The project, led by the University of South Wales (USW), will look at the feasibility of extracting energy from low-velocity tidal flows.

Aside from USW, the project has also gathered the experts from Cardiff, Southampton and Strathclyde universities.

USW and Cardiff University will be undertaking the numerical modelling, while Strathclyde University will be looking at blade design using its own bespoke software based on Blade element Momentum Theory, USW informed.

Southampton University will lead on the design strategy for a turbine system, focusing on the identification of appropriate generator characteristics and the drive train sub-components.

All four partners will be also be collaborating in considering the overall design of a feasible turbine for flows and determining the levelised cost of energy for the turbine, according to USW.

Daphne O’Doherty, Head of the School of Engineering at USW who will be leading the project, said: “There has been a lot of research into generating energy from the fast-flowing waters, such as those that we have here in the UK which are driven by the large rise and falls in the tides in the seas around the British Isles.

“These mostly – but not always – flow at faster than three meters per second, so are strong enough to efficiently generate power. However, there are many parts of the world, including large areas of the UK where the waters around the coast doesn’t flow as quickly, and so haven’t been the subject of a great deal of research.

“What this project will look at is whether a slower tidal flow – under two meters per second – will offer the conditions that are suitable for energy generation.”

The research is backed by the grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.