Claiming a world first, Norwegian researchers at the University of Trondheim are planning a pilot project for a tidal mill power station. With support from a local power company and Norwegian oil major Statoil, Torkild Carstens and colleagues are hoping to generate power from strong tidal currents in the Kval Sound near Norway's northern tip. A 1MW peak capacity pilot project should be built in the next couple of years, Mr Carstens told ENDS Daily today. In the longer term, it should be possible to generate 20-30GWh at the site at no more than the cost of commercial wind power. In fact, the tidal mill concept is very similar to wind power, Mr Carstens explained. Rather than exploiting the potential energy of rising and falling tides, underwater turbines capture the kinetic energy of tidal currents, which run at a strong 4-5 knots in the chosen area. "There are dozens of sites in Norway" that could be used to generate power in this way, Mr Carstens said, and nearly one hundred in Europe. "On a world scale it's not a major energy source, but it could be of great use to local communities."
University of Trondheim Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF), tel: +47 73 593 000.
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