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Scottish expertise helps develop and install Chinese tidal turbine amid Covid-19 crisis

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Installation of the China Three Gorges SG500kW tidal stream turbine between the islands of Putuoshan and Huludao in China (Credit: Simec Atlantis Energy)
Installation of the China Three Gorges SG500kW tidal stream turbine between the islands of Putuoshan and Huludao in China (Credit: Simec Atlantis Energy)

A ‘mammoth’ new tidal turbine has been developed and deployed in just 18 months, proving a promising route for zero-carbon energy in China.

The 500kW turbine was developed by Scottish firm Simec Atlantis Energy working with ITPEnergised, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation and China Three Gorges. Atlantis is a world-leader in tidal energy technology, and has installed turbines in projects such as Meygen, off the north-east coast of Scotland.

With a rotor diameter of 18m, the new turbine was installed between the islands of Putuoshan and Huludao in the Zhoushan archipelago in China in the last week.

An Atlantis announcement said: “The success of this project is made all the more impressive given the extraordinary circumstances in which the turbine was manufactured. CSIC’s facilities in Wuhan have in recent months had to deal with being at the centre of the outbreak of the coronavirus and have dealt with the logistical challenges that this presented with extreme professionalism.”

Chief executive Tim Cornelius said: “Atlantis can be extremely proud of the role we played in this project. The fast execution, from concept design to installation, represents a phenomenal feat of engineering that bodes well for a rapid future roll-out of tidal power in China, which in turn will have material cost reduction implications globally.

“MeyGen has demonstrated the true potential of tidal energy and has de-risked the market to the extent that we are now exporting knowhow and equipment internationally, with China the latest market to open in Asia.”

China is working to cut its coal consumption, with fossil fuel accounting for just under 60% of the country’s overall energy consumption. A study by researchers at Hohai University found tidal stream energy could supply more than 8.2GW in the country.

“The natural resource and commercial opportunity China represents for the tidal stream power industry cannot be overstated,” the Atlantis announcement said. “This opening up of a vast international market will have profound implications for supply chain and cost reduction developments, which will be felt across the entire renewables and wider energy sector.” 


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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 

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