The patented rotor system, CoRMaT overcomes many of the problems which have, until now, made tidal energy production uneconomic.
While conventional tidal devices resemble wind turbines constructed on the seabed, incurring enormous deployment and engineering costs, CoRMat is a small capsule, tethered to a sub- surface float, which uses a novel, contra-rotating rotor system to effectively harness tidal energy.
The turbines can be deployed in water depths of up to 500m and, because their closely spaced rotors move in opposite directions, they remain steady in the face of strong tidal flows, allowing them to “fly” from a simple tensioned mooring, and always pointing directly into the tide for maximum energy capture.
With greater reliability, efficiency, ease of maintenance and environmental impact than conventional subsea turbines, Nautricity are confident it can be the first device on the market to effectively deliver commercially competitive electricity to the national grid.
A pilot demonstration turbine is being temporarily deployed from HQS Wellington, a former Royal Navy sloop and home of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, a City of London Livery Company, which is moored at Temple Steps in the heart of London.
It is hoped the trial will lead to hundreds of mini rotors, the largest capable of generating up to 500kilowatts (kw) of electricity, being sited on a 95 mile stretch of the river from Westminster to Margate producing enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.
A spokesman for the Duke said he had chosen to visit Strathclyde to learn more about the science and industry of alternative energy, particularly tidal energy.
“[The Duke] recognises the extraordinary potential of the UK - and Scotland especially - in leading the world in this field,” said the spokesman.
“Strathclyde University is an intellectual powerhouse in tidal energy and he wants to understand not just the industry itself but also the financial mechanisms to fund large-scale tidal projects.”
Cameron Johnstone, chief executive of Nautricity, said: “We are delighted the Duke has taken an interest in our device which uses world beating technology.
“We appreciate the tremendous support our many backers and supporters have given us over the years, putting us at the forefront of this technology.”
The Duke was for 10 years the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. He continues to support and promote British business interests both at home and overseas.
Beforehand, the Duke formally marked the start of construction work at the site of the university’s multi-million pound Power Network Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.
The £12.5m research centre will accelerate the adoption of smart technologies, from advanced power grids to electric cars and intelligent household appliances.
It is being created by the University and leading energy companies including ScottishPower and Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution, with support from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council.
Visit http://www.nautricity.com for details
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CoRMaT is a second generation device, the result of extensive research and development carried out at the prestigious Energy Systems Research Unit at the University of Strathclyde.
A proof of concept version has already successfully generated electricity
Nautricity is developing and building a pre-commercialisation device that will undergo further rigorous testing later this year