A unique and highly innovative UK developed vertical axis turbine that can generate power from the tidal movement of the sea, as well as from tidal rivers and inland waterways, has successfully completed the current phase of its evaluation trials according to its development engineers.
The Osprey tidal turbine is the brainchild of Cornwall-based FreeFlow 69 Ltd, research and development consultants in renewable energy, which is headed up by Pat Cooke.
Following extremely positive initial testing of a reduced-scale model in 2007, a full size prototype has recently been trialled with significant success.
A purpose-designed, state-of-the-art, 30ft long aluminium catamaran rig was designed and built by associate company, Able Engineering Ltd of Swadlincote, Derbyshire, for use in these trials.
The highly sophisticated test rig is equipped with a hydraulic scissor lift, to lower and retract the turbine housing into the water flow, and is powered by two outboard engines.
The rig drives the turbines through still water to simulate a current or flow of water at different speeds and it incorporates calibrated instrumentation to determine the power output of the turbine, together with two systems for measuring the torque loading on the contra-rotating blades.
Pat Cooke said: “Viability of the Osprey turbine concept has now been further proven. It has performed exceptionally well in the latest trials, with power output on target with our expectations.”
“The Carbon Trust has estimated that wave and tidal power could provide a fifth of the UK’s electricity needs. And, whilst we are confident that the Osprey turbine could significantly aid the UK in achieving its renewable energy targets, we definitely see huge potential for the Osprey worldwide.”
Precise details of the contra-rotating, vertical axis, free flow Osprey turbine still remain confidential and its operating mechanism is subject to a patent application.
It can provide power independently or as part of a larger system and outputs from 1kW up to 5MW in a multiple system are anticipated.
The Osprey turbine has also been designed as a key component of a conceptual modular lagoon type hybrid generating system, harvesting power from tidal rise and fall, tidal flow boosted by a venturi and wind turbines.
This system could be an alternative solution to the Severn barrage, or could be included as part of it, and is a simpler development of FreeFlow 69’s original Ocean Hydro Electricity Generator (OHEG) concept.
With the significant benefit of the gearbox and generator being above the water level, the Osprey turbine can operate effectively in variable depths to maximise power efficiency throughout the tidal cycle or in differing river heights.
It is also environmentally friendly, will not interfere with marine or river life and can be mounted on the sea bed or suspended on pontoons.
With its bi-directional operation it will turn the same way in a flooding or ebbing tide and its modular design enables a bank of Osprey turbines to be built up and added to in order to generate more power.
FreeFlow 69 is now actively seeking a suitable sponsor to assist with funding for the next vitally important phase of development, which will include totally independent validation of the Osprey turbine’s performance and power generation potential, together with an official media announcement of these results internationally.
“We envisage that the first Osprey turbines could be in commercial operation, producing electricity, within the next two years and would also welcome the potential opportunity to partner with an appropriate, forward thinking energy supplier looking for a totally practical and advanced renewable energy solution to add to their portfolio,” concluded Pat Cooke.
For more information about the Osprey turbine and sponsorship/partnering opportunities contact: Pat Cooke, FreeFlow 69 Ltd, Unit 10 Windmill Industrial Estate, Windmill, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1HB. Tel: 01726 833337. Mobile: 07734 757595. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.freeflow69.com