The University of South Wales (USW) has initiated a £200,000 research project which will look into the ways to harness power from tides.
Head of the School of Engineering at USW, Dr Daphne O’Doherty, is heading up the project which has received a grant from The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.
Dr O’Doherty will lead the project – a collaboration with experts at Cardiff, Southampton and Strathclyde universities – which will look at the feasibility of extracting energy from low-velocity tidal flows.
“There has been a lot of research into generating energy from the fast-flowing waters, such as those that we have here in the UK which are driven by the large rise and falls in the tides in the seas around the British Isles,” Dr O’Doherty said.
“These mostly – but not always – flow at faster than three metres per second, so are strong enough to efficiently generate power.
“However, there are many parts of the world, including large areas of the UK where the waters around the coast doesn’t flow as quickly, and so haven’t been the subject of a great deal of research
“What this project will look at is whether a slower tidal flow – under two metres per second – will offer the conditions that are suitable for energy generation.”
USW and Cardiff University will be undertaking the numerical modelling, while Strathclyde University will be looking at blade design using its own bespoke software based on Blade element Momentum Theory. Southampton University will lead on the design strategy for a turbine system, in particular the identification of appropriate generator characteristics and the drive train sub-components.
All four partners will be also be collaborating in considering the overall design of a feasible turbine for flows and determining the levelised cost of energy for the turbine.