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Rolls-Royce Testing the Waters with Tidal Power Turbines

rolls royce

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.

Image: Rolls-Royce


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is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


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