A tidal energy farm in the middle of London? If the pilot project that Scotland-based Nautricity has planned goes well, that could very well end up happening. The company recently announced it has received permission from the Port of London Authority to conduct a two-month trial by installing one of its tidal turbines in the Thames river alongside the HQS WELLINGTON, a former Royal Navy sailing vessel which is moored at Temple Steps in the heart of London.
The project will reportedly utilise Nautricity’s CoRMaT, a turbine with dissimilar blades that rotate opposite each other. Nautricity claims the design allows for “suppressed downstream turbulence” that should mitigate scouring of the river bed and banks. Whereas conventional tidal devices often look somewhat like wind turbines fixed to the seabed, the CoRMaT device is a small capsule that is tethered to a float, which the company says allows it to operate in a wide range of water depths from 8 to 50 meters.
Aside from being less invasive, the small capsule’s design is meant to be less expensive to produce and deploy. The largest of the turbines is said to be capable of generating 500 kilowatts.
If the trials go well, Nautricity says it would like to deploy hundreds of its tidal turbines along the Thames. As conceived, the project would end up generating about 50 megawatts worth of tidal energy; enough, the company says, to power about 35,000 homes.