Underwater Kite Energy Device Gets Boost

The U.K. is putting fresh funding behind Deep Green, one of the most fascinating of the long parade of ocean-energy projects to come along.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change awarded Minesto and its partners £500,000 ($835,000) to advance their work on their tidal-power device, a sort of kite that zips around underwater with an attached spinning turbine capturing power.

deep green

image via Minesto

As we detailed in an earlier story, Minesto cites three key elements to the design – the hydrodynamic wing, which moves through the water at speeds greater than the current courtesy lift forces; the tether, which can accommodate power cables from the generator and signal cable to the control system; and the swivel at the anchoring point, which allows the device freedom of movement through changing tidal currents.

“It is truly exciting that DECC realizes the potential for Deep Green to unlock the low velocity tidal current market in the UK; this proves that Governments have confidence in our company and our technology,” Minesto CEO Ander Jansson said in a release announcing the award [PDF]. “In the UK alone, the Deep Green technology has a carbon reduction potential of over 30 million tons of CO2 per year.”

Deep Green has been undergoing testing at a 1:4 scale in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, and Jansson said the cash infusion will allow it to extend the trials, working with the global renewable energy consultancy IT Power and the research institute National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to gather and analyze data. “IT Power has extensive experience in working with similar marine energy projects since 1991 and NPL has long-standing experience from research within data collection and sensors,” Jansson said.

Tidal stream power is new but intriguing technology, with most of the activity going on in the U.K., where funding is a little easier to come by (see our recent stories on the Atlantis Resources MeyGen project and the Alstom tidal turbine demoing in Scottish waters). There is a significant U.S. project a crossflow turbine that Ocean Renawable Power Company has been testing off Maine.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.