Italian firm to deliver marine prototype to Philippines

An Italian renewable energy research firm is to deliver a prototype marine energy turbine to the Philippines for installation in San Bernadino Strait this year.

The prototype Kobold turbine by Ponte di Archimede International S.p.A. is to be installed in the strait’s strong currents off Samar Province in a cooperative program of the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Italy’s Foreign Ministry. Italy’s Foreign Ministry has contributed 300,000 euros (US$397,000) to the San Bernardino Strait project.

�The proposed technology for harvesting marine current will be customized, manufactured, and installed for due testing and monitoring prior to launch its marketing phase,� UNIDO said. �The pilot plant should provide the operational justification of the viability also for the coastal areas of the Philippines of the Kobold turbine application for energy production.�

Once the unit’s operation proves successful, the Philippines’ Metals Industry Research and Development Center is to identify private fabricators to build additional units in the Philippines.

The unique vertical-axis hydro turbine is to convert kinetic energy of marine currents into mechanical energy to create electricity. A 40-kW prototype has been operating since March 2006 off Messina, Italy, generating power for Italy’s electricity grid.

UNIDO is supporting development of the technology to disseminate its use throughout Asia, particularly in island nations. In addition to the Philippines, initiatives are under way in China, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, Ponte di Archimede said.

In November, the Italian company signed a joint venture agreement with China’s Dai Shan County Gao Ting Shipyard to construct a turbine prototype in China within a year, as prelude to building �energy farms� off Chinese islands.

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