Ocean Energy Council, April 23, 2008
A renewables company based in Cardiff is looking to make commercial waves from a marine energy venture.
Eco2 is the major shareholder and commercial driver of Tidal Energy which has developed an innovative technology to generate electrical power from tidal stream resources.
Its DeltaStream technology takes the concept of wind turbine and ship propeller systems deep beneath the ocean, each generating 1.2 megawatt of energy.
DeltaStream generator features three turbines which sit on the seabed in a triangular frame. When deployed, they will be situated in formation across the seabed to generate green electricity.
Eco2 is spearheading a £6m fundraising exercise, £1m of which it will provide itself. It has already invested £150,000, which has been matched by the Carbon Connections Development Fund, which facilitate knowledge transfer between universities and research laboratories and the business community to speed commercial development of carbon-saving projects,
Chris Williams, project director at Tidal Energy said: “We are hoping to grow this business in Wales, and are looking at a number of suitable locations both in Wales and throughout the rest of the UK for the devices to be installed.
“The skills and resources to develop this business are readily available in South Wales, and we are looking to become a significant employer in this industry with up to 100 full time staff, both in management and operational positions by 2015.”
Following full-scale underwater trials at Cleddau in Pembrokeshire of an early prototype, Tidal Energy is planning to begin manufacturing its device later this year, with a view to full-scale installation in summer 2009.
During the initial stages of the technologies development, Cardiff University contributed to the design of the system’s fluid dynamics and further refinement of the turbine’s blade design is being carried out by Cranfield University in England.
David Williams, chief executive of Eco2, said: “This is an important development as it literally takes renewable power generation out of sight, minimising environmental impact, yet harnessing the largely untapped energy resources of the oceans, far more cost effectively than before. We believe this is the most aesthetic and energy efficient solution yet to meeting EU renewable energy targets.”
The British Wind Energy Association estimates marine power could provide 10-20% of the UK’s electricity needs.
Established in 2002, Eco2 specialises in initiating, developing, financing and operating renewable energy projects and is currently working on wind, biomass and tidal stream projects across the UK.
Eco2 is committed to significantly contributing to Wales reaching the targets set out by the Welsh Assembly Government to generate 4 terawatt (one billion kilowatts) hours of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.
Within Wales, Eco2 has 100 megawatt of wind energy generators either built or in the planning system and a further 160 of biomass projects in development.