Brazil university team studies pilot tidal plant at Bacanga Dam

Brazil’s Federal University of Rio de Janeiro is studying the feasibility of developing a pilot tidal power plant at 40-year-old Bacanga Dam and Reservoir near Sao Luis in Brazil’s north coast region.

Researchers in the university’s Department of Ocean Engineering are to complete feasibility studies in 2008. CNPQ, an agency of the country’s Science and Technology Ministry, is financing the initial studies.

The Bacanga plant would utilize the existing dam, gates, and other equipment. Construction would involve installation of an intake system and two sets of vertical-axis helical-type turbines with external generators.

One turbine-generator set would be installed above the reservoir level, to generate when the tide is flowing from the ocean to the reservoir. The second set would be installed on the ocean side of the dam, on a floating platform to follow the variation in water level during the tides. It would generate when the tide flows from the reservoir to the ocean. Both sets would stop operating when head is less than a meter, to minimize efficiency losses.

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