The World’s Most Powerful Tidal Turbine Can Power 2,000 Homes
Meet the “World’s Most Powerful Tidal Turbine,” the Orbital O2, created by Orbital Marine Power Ltd. (Orbital), Scottish-based developers of the world’s leading floating tidal turbine technology. The 680-tonne Orbital O2, which is 72m (236 feet) long, is a massive, state-of-the-art floating platform that is secured via anchors.
This four-point mooring system involves heavy-duty mooring chains that each have the strength to lift over 50 double-decker buses! It floats atop powerful tidal stream or river currents and its underwater rotors capture the dense flowing energy. Then the electricity is transported from the turbine via a dynamic cable to the seabed and then through a static cable to the local onshore electricity network.
Its impressive tidal application has a global capacity estimate of 100 gigawatts. In other words, tidal energy harvesting has the potential to power 80 million homes! My, have the tides changed! According to Orbital, fully implementing this resource would drum up significant investment in equipment and services of over £300bn.
Its river application, which would be a scaled-down version, would capture power from river flow. This innovative platform can meet off-grid demands from communities, households, and electric vehicle charge points. The Orbital O2, a 2MW tidal turbine, has the ability to generate sufficient clean, dependable electricity to meet the demand of around 2,000 UK homes and offset approximately 2,200 tons of CO2 production annually.
Orbital successfully launched the Orbital O2 from the Port of Dundee into the River Tay using a submersible barge. Then it was towed to Scotland’s Orkney Islands where it will undergo commissioning before being connected to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), thus making it the world’s most powerful operational tidal turbine. Besides being the company’s headquarters, Orkney also reportedly sits in some of the strongest tidal currents in the world, which is an ideal environment for this technology.
For Orbital, the bigger picture is to reach beyond the UK and go global. According to Orbital chief executive Andrew Scott “Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector.”
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