Oxford University to lead tidal energy project for carbon emission reduction and energy security
The University of Oxford is to lead an ambitious £7 million project to help deliver scalable, affordable and sustainable tidal stream energy. Besides boosting energy security, this could help enable tidal stream energy make a meaningful contribution to achieving UK Net Zero goals.
‘Co-design to deliver Scalable Tidal Stream Energy’ (CoTide) will bring together three multi-disciplinary teams from the universities of Oxford, Edinburgh, and Strathclyde. Backed by investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the project will address the key challenges that are currently preventing the tidal energy sector from reaching its full potential.
Project lead Professor Richard Willden, from the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science, said: ‘We have a huge opportunity as a country to harness the powerful tides that surround us and use innovative engineering to develop greater energy security and solutions to help meet our 2050 net zero goals.’
‘This EPSRC investment in CoTide allows us to bring together world-class engineering expertise and drive forward the kind of creative, collaborative research that will ensure the UK remains a world-leader in tidal stream development and deployment.’
Achieving the UK’s target to reach net zero by 2050 requires the decarbonisation of our energy supplies and a huge expansion of renewable energy generation from the current 50GW to 120-300GW. The powerful tides that surround the UK remain underutilised, but have significant potential as a source of greener power that could make a meaningful contribution to this goal. Unlike the wind and the sun, tides ebb and flow at predictable times each day, and so have the advantage that they can provide power that is both renewable and reliable, enabling more resilient energy networks.
CoTide will focus on developing state-of-the-art tidal stream turbine systems. Unlike more traditional tidal barrages and tidal lagoons that require turbines to be installed in structures such as dams or sea walls, tidal stream turbines are fixed directly out at sea in the line of the strongest, most suitable tidal flows. This makes them cheaper to build and install, and reduces their environmental impact.
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