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Japan testing tidal turbine technology as part of renewable energy transition

February 17, 2021


A tidal turbine built and tested in Scotland has been installed in waters off a Japanese island chain, representing the latest example of how the East Asian country is investigating the potential of marine-based forms of energy production.

In a statement Monday, London-listed firm Simec Atlantis Energy said its pilot turbine had generated 10 megawatt hours in its first 10 days of operation.

The AR500 turbine was put together at a facility in Scotland before being shipped to Japan, where it was installed in waters off Naru Island, which is part of the larger Goto Island chain.

SAE’s CEO, Graham Reid, described the installation as a “huge milestone for the deployment of clean, renewable energy from tidal stream and we hope it will be the first of many tidal turbines installed in Japan.”

In simple terms, the tech developed by Bombora — which has offices in both the U.K. and Australia — is based around the idea of using rubber membrane “cells” which are filled with air and fitted to a structure submerged underwater. According to a video from the company outlining how its system works, when waves pass over the system, its “flexible rubber membrane design pumps air through a turbine to generate electricity.”

The International Energy Agency describes marine technologies as holding “great potential” but adds that extra policy support is required for research, design and development in order to “enable the cost reductions that come with the commissioning of larger commercial plants.”

[Anmar Frangoul]

More: A tidal turbine built in Scotland is now producing power in Japan

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