Neptune, based in North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, England, has successful completed a series of rigorous in-water tests on the full-scale demonstrator of its Proteus NP1000 tidal stream power generator, it is now seeking a trade partner, which could be a shipyard or heavy engineering concern, who can demonstrate the capability to fabricate and build future production devices.
Weighing more than 150 tonnes and 20 m in length with a beam of 14 m, the Proteus NP1000 consists of steel buoyancy hulls, a vertically mounted turbine with a 6 m x 6 m rotor, and computer controlled flow vanes within a venturi duct.
Despite its size, the floating pontoon design means that the Proteus is largely unobtrusive when deployed, with more than 80 per cent of its bulk always hidden from view under the water. This low environmental footprint has now been approved by the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Test data indicate that when optimized for the tidal stream the Proteus NP1000 will be able generate at least 1,000 MWh/year. To put this into context the projected output would be enough to meet the energy needs of more than five hundred homes.
The recent tests included the powering-up and generation of electricity as proof of the commercial potential of the device's power curve. Tow testing was carried out in three phases during August, September and October in Hull's Albert Dock. The third set of experiments provided the final, critical, "proof of concept" hurdle and the device will now be prepared for commercial deployment in early 2011 at Sammy's Point in the Humber.
Commented Nigel Petrie, Chairman, Neptune Renewable Energy Ltd (NREL): "We are delighted to have successfully come through the in-water testing phase for the Proteus Demonstrator which paves the way for the device to be commissioned shortly and installed, with the first electricity delivered in 2011. Having reached this key milestone, at Neptune we are now looking to identify a trade partner who is able to demonstrate that they have capability to work with us to manufacture and deliver future devices."
Mr. Petrie said the company is also seeking equity providers to work with in order to help fund a series of arrays of the tidal stream power generators which are planned for the Humber in 2011 and 2012.
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