Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Tidalwatt

Will underwater turbines contribute to the energy transition?

Agriculture & Energy

A new type of efficient turbine harnesses the energy of rivers and the ocean

Spotted: Despite the urgent need to move to renewable energy, the majority of the world’s power is still sourced from fossil fuels. Roadblocks to more widespread adoption of solar and wind energy include intermittency and the need to place infrastructure in particular locations without damaging local environments. Harnessing the power of the ocean could provide another option to supplement the solar and wind roll-out.

Now, Brazilian startup TidalWatt has developed a new generation of underwater turbines that take advantage of the energy generated by river and ocean currents.

The company claims that each of its three-metre diameter turbines is capable of producing 5 megawatts of power with a current of 1.87 knots. That is around the same power as a 180-metre diameter wind turbine – even though the underwater turbines are 60 times smaller. What is more, the TidalWatt turbines produce energy around 90 per cent of the time, making them less intermittent than standard wind installations.

TidalWatt recently partnered with the John Cockerill Group to construct a prototype of its turbine. The company has also obtained permission from the Rio de Janeiro state environmental authority to carry out tests on the system in conjunction with Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Quality, and Technology.

Tidal power offers a never-ending source of clean energy, so it is no wonder that interest in the technology is growing. Recent innovations include a floating platform to generate continuous electricity from rivers and underwater kites to harness electricity from the ocean.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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