U.K. awards planning permit for 150-kW Pulse Tidal

United Kingdom Industry Minister John Hutton has announced approval of planning permission for the 150-kW Pulse Tidal prototype tidal power project in northeast England.

Hutton said April 7 that Pulse Tidal Ltd.’s test project also has been awarded 878,000 pounds ($1.73 million) in public funding to develop the prototype in Humber Estuary near Hull.

“Our continued support for these emerging technologies is essential,” Hutton said. “We will be doubling the support available for those technologies… This kind of tidal project, if proven, will go some way to helping the U.K. meet its ambitious targets for clean, green energy.”

Successfully tested at Hull University, the system utilizes high-performance hydrofoils similar to airplane wings that move up and down like whale tails, taking energy from tidal stream currents. A Pulse Tidal device can operate in only five meters of water, in shallow estuaries where tides tend to be the strongest.

Once installed in Humber Estuary this year, the Pulse Tidal device will be connected to the U.K. grid through the Millennium Inorganic Chemicals plant on the south bank of the Humber. Sheffield-based Pulse Tidal said Millennium would become the first U.K. company to take a direct feed of electricity from tidal power.

If successful, the technology could be used to develop 1-MW units strung together in tidal power farms generating up to 100 MW.

Pulse Tidal said the U.K. public financing, plus funds from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund totaled 1.1 million pounds (US$2.1 million). Its own investors, Marubeni Corp. of Japan and local backers including Viking Fund and LIFE business accelerator, have invested 580,000 pounds (US$1.1 million).

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