Humber tidal project passes power tests

image captionThe Proteus NP 1000 generator was tested at Hull's Albert Dock

A major step forward in using the tidal power of the Humber estuary to generate electricity has been completed by engineers.

Neptune Renewable Energy has said it produced power from its demonstration unit at Hull's Albert dock following three months of tests.

Now engineers are preparing to install a commercial site at Sammy's Point in the Humber estuary in early 2011.

Power from that will be used to run The Deep aquarium in Hull.

The Proteus NP 1000 tidal stream power generator weighs more than 150 tonnes and will be 20m (65ft) in length.

'Intensive efforts'

It is made of steel buoyancy hulls carrying a turbine and 6m (19ft) rotors.

Engineers from the firm believe, that based on the dock tests, the system would be able to generate at least 1,000 megawatts and claim this could meet the energy needs of more than 500 homes.

Nigel Petrie, of Neptune Renewable Energy, said: "This is the culmination of five years' intensive efforts and is a real first for the region.

"A major advantage of tidal stream power is the delivery of a predicable source of renewable energy compared to more variable, less consistent options, such as wind - something which is a key consideration when it comes to building up generating capacity."

The firm said it was hoping to build arrays of the tidal power units which would be deployed in the estuary in 2011 and 2012.

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