The venerable Rolls-Royce, maker of some of the finest motorcars, engines and turbines in the world, will be sea-testing tidal power turbines off the coast of the UK beginning this summer.
According to company officials, Rolls-Royce along with a company called Tidal Generation Limited, will begin trials of a half-megawatt (MW) turbine this summer. Rolls has also entered a separate R&D partnership to build and test a 1 MW version that should be in the water in about 18 months.
“By 2020 there could be 300 MW (tidal power deployed) around the UK, or 100-200 devices,” Ric Parker, the director of research and technology for Rolls-Royce told Reuters. Parker said the company is spending about 5 percent of its R&D budget on clean energy technologies including tidal power and fuel cells.
Whereas the UK has been a bit of a laggard in terms of developing their wind energy resource (mostly because of aesthetic opposition), they have been at the forefront of tidal power development. Just last year a company called SeaGen installed the world’s first commercial-scale tidal power turbine off the coast of Northern Ireland and several companies including Google are exploring the possibilities of tidal-powered data centers—both off-grid and grid-tied—in the strong tidal currents surrounding the British Isles.
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