Underwater kites set to power all households in city the size of Newcastle by 2020

Carbon Trust provides £350,000 grant for first seagoing trials of innovative tidal energy device.

Tidal energy device developer Minesto UK Ltd is receiving a grant of up to £350,000 from the Carbon Trust funded by Invest Northern Ireland to deploy the first seagoing prototype of its innovative seakite technology – ‘Deep Green’.

The device works like a kite, tethered to the seabed, which flies through the sea current carrying a turbine. If trials are successful, Minesto plans to deploy enough devices around the UK’s coastline to generate up to 530GWh a year by 2020, enough to power the annual electricity needs for all households in a city approximately the size of Newcastle.

The radically new concept can operate in slower currents than any other known tidal energy technology. Deep Green’s kite-like structure flies in a figure of eight, steered by a rudder, allowing it to effectively accelerate the speed of the water entering the turbine by up to ten times allowing more power to be generated leading to a step-change reduction in the cost of tidal energy. The technology has the potential to unlock significant additional tidal resources by opening up whole new areas of low velocity tidal streams around the UK’s coastline to generate electricity.

The trial will see a one-tenth size version of the Deep Green device put through its paces off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Benj Sykes, Director of Innovations at the Carbon Trust, said: 
“The UK boasts some of the best tidal resources in the world and we are focussed on bringing down the cost of extracting that energy. Minesto’s Deep Green is a very exciting technology as it could provide a step change reduction in the cost of tidal energy and open up swathes of the UK’s coast to generating electricity. Tidal energy has the potential to produce up to 18 terawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to over 5% of the UK’s electricity consumption."

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