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23rd January 2009 By Ian Briggs - Deputy Editor of TheBusinessdesk.com
TWO former teachers are working to develop tidal power technology that is set to become the first marine renewable device to feed power directly into the national grid on the UK mainland.
Inventor Marc Paish and business partner Howard Nimmo are currently managing the installation of a test device in the Humber estuary that will produce 100kW of power, which is enough electricity to power up to 70 homes.
If the trial is successful, Sheffield-based Pulse Tidal is aiming to roll out larger developments offshore around the UK.
The test device, which Pulse Tidal hopes to have operational in the next few weeks, was manufactured at steel maker Corus at Scunthorpe and has been erected in water at Stallingborough, near Immingham.
Mr Nimmo said Pulse Tidal's device was unusual because it used 'high performance hydrofoils' - devices that are similar to aeroplane wings and move up and down like whale tails beneath the surface - which take energy from tidal stream currents.
Mr Nimmo said: "There's a massive amount of energy out there waiting to be harnessed. We believe that society as a whole needs to do more to start to harness the energy out there.
"We have the opportunity to be leading the world in this."
Mr Nimmo said the Government had plans to treble the amount of electricity harnessed from wind, wave and tidal power and said Pulse Tidal could capitalise on the targets.
He said because of the device's features, it could be used in shallow water close to shore unlike other devices which used technology similar to wind turbines.
The device will be connected to the UK's power system through Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, which will become the first UK company to take a direct feed from tidal power.
The system has been trialed at The Deep in Hull and has had input from experts at Hull University. Pulse Tidal has attracted private funding from investors including Japanese trading giant Marubeni as well as £1.1m of grant funding, including a grant under the Government's Technology Programme.
Mr Nimmo said if the test was successful, Pulse Tidal aimed to develop new devices and make its services commercial in an industry which he said was valued at £10bn annually.
Mr Paish and Mr Nimmo, who are both former Hull secondary school teachers, adapted their technology from a propulsion device Mr Paish had developed for a boat.
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Article Id: 305659
Release date: 23 January 2009
Company: Connect Yorkshire