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World’s Largest Tidal Turbine will generate enough power for 1,000 homes


August 17, 2010

Atlantis Resources Corporation has just unveiled its recently completed AK1000 tidal turbine before it heads off to Orkney in Scotland for installation and connection to the grid

Atlantis Resources Corporation has just unveiled its recently completed AK1000 tidal turbine before it heads off to Orkney in Scotland for installation and connection to the grid

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The oil and gas fields of the North Sea have been meeting the power needs of the UK population for a number of years but such things have a finite lifespan and there are different ways to get power from the sea. The world's largest and most powerful tidal power turbine has just been unveiled by Atlantis Resources Corporation ahead of installation at a special berth at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland. The AK1000 will shortly be secured to the seabed off the choppy waters of Orkney and connected to the grid at EMEC. The company claims that the turbine is capable of generating enough electricity for 1,000 homes and is the first of a series of turbines to be deployed.

Atlantis Resources Corporation unveiled the AK1000 turbine at Isleburn Engineering in Invergordon, Scotland, where the system assembly took place. It will be transported from there to EMEC in Orkney later in the summer. Designed to withstand harsh weather and rough open ocean environments such as those found off the Scottish coast, the company says that the turbine will produce 1MW of predictable power at a water velocity of 2.65m/s – enough to satisfy the electricity needs of over 1,000 homes. The horizontal axis turbine weighs some 1,300 tonnes, stands over 73 feet (22m) high and has a rotor diameter of just over 59 feet (18m).

It's expected that it will have little or no impact on the environment due to the low rotation speed during operation and the unique twin rotor set with fixed pitch blades should eliminate the need for sub-sea nacelle rotation and so improve operational reliability.

Atlantis CEO Timothy Cornelius said that the turbine, "represents the culmination of 10 years of hard work, dedication and belief from all our partners, staff, directors and shareholders. The AK1000 is capable of unlocking the economic potential of the marine energy industry in Scotland and will greatly boost Scotland's renewable generation capacity in the years to come."

The unveiling of the AK1000 was shortly followed by an announcement by Scottish Power that it has plans to install hundreds of tidal turbines in the coming years. Equipment manufacturer, Burntisland Fabrications has just been awarded a contract to build a full-scale tidal turbine prototype for Scottish Power which will pave the way for a 10MW tidal energy project off the west coast of Scotland.

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Wow.... 2.65 [m/s] is equal to 9.54 [km/h], which is an extreme speed for tidal currents. Such speeds are typically found only in some very specific places, such as the Mont St Michel, in France - specifically places where the water is very shallow and the bottom of the sea rises gently, so that the water has to cover great distances to fill the required volume.

So while it certainly does produce 1 [MW] with this water speed, the actual peak production will probably be significantly lower. And this will be only at two moments of the day, and the tides vary depending on the conjunction between the moon and the sun.

I wouldn\'t want to be misunderstood: this seems like a very good project and a very promising technology, but one should be careful with these over-optimistic claims ; they can be counter-productive when the people are disappointed by not seeing them reached.

Gavrilo Bozovic

Just think for a minute. 1000 homes. Cost of electricity per home, $1000 a year.

One million dollars. Minus overhead, maintenance, etc.

How much does it cost???????? How much does this AK1000 cost to build, to transport, to install?????

I wish the project well. I want it to work. It just seems too expensive. And I\'m saying this in total ignorance. It just looks like an expensive piece of equipment.


Gavrilo, consider for a moment that this technology requires neither storage capacity (like solar & wind) nor fuel (like coal, gas or nuclear). That means that its lifetime cost (in $/mw-h) will probably be relatively small. It\'s worth noting that the first coal power stations delivered electricity at a cost of more than US$2/kw-h. It took almost 50 years for the price to fall significantly below US$1/kw-h. It frequently disappoints me that many people expect renewable energy technology to deliver significantly cheaper energy in a much shorter space of time than fossil fuels or nuclear-& with far less money for R&D.


It\'s beginning. Corporations are opening upto the possibility of a new way of being. Yep, expensive, inefficient and ungainly the AK may be, but it is contributing to the momentum toward a sustainable and clean world. Such initiatives MUST lead to great transformations in the near term. Thank goodness for the courage of these pioneers. It is they, not the nay sayers, doubters and negatively wise who will enable humanity to survive into the 22nd century.

Sonny Navaratnam

It\'s PR custom to state \"... for 1000 homes\". Homes should be independent from grid. Grid is for industrial plants, real big consumers. If homes would be independent, then 15% of grid power will be made available for industrial plants.

Dan Vasii

@Aussie_Renewable: Yes, I know that we shouldn\'t expect renewable energies to have comparable or better outputs than the current ones for some time, and I\'m all for development in this field. Tidal energy is a promising source, with potentially a lower ecological impact than wind energy and lower gray energy consumption than solar photovoltaic, so I\'m all for it.

I also totally agree with the advantages you put forward for this technology.

The only thing that bothers me is that the people who develop these technologies feel compelled to make overly optimistic projections, as is obviously the case here. I give these people thumbs up for their work, but I would have had more confidence if the numbers behind it were a little more believable.

Gavrilo Bozovic

It surprises me that sites such as this (that focus on leading-edge scientic developements) still insist on using imperial instead of SI/metric units? The above article starts off OK where the speed is given in metres/second and then other specs are given in feet???

Fair call. We usually try to include both metric and imperial measurements in our articles but this one slipped through. Have added the metric conversions. Ed. EMJAYBE

I know they must have thought of this when they designed it but I\'m REALLY curios how long one of these things can last in that environment? Will it pay for it\'s self before it needs replacement or major repair? I know in a lot of hydro electric dams some of those turbines spin for 50 years before being replace! I hope this works. :-)


Maybe the actual generator might be replaced after 50 years, but everything around it has changed a few times Mrhuckfin. This will be an interesting project to watch, but like several others, real data would be impressive

Craig Jennings

MJB re mixed units. In the UK we have \'gone metric\', but drive down our motorways, and note the numbered posts which are spaced at 100 metre intervals, then look up to the direction signs which usefully tell you the distance in miles. Remember that we live in loony land!


cold streams rising from the deep ocean rise at 2 meters per second. orkney probably has some of the fastest constant water speeds in europe.

Ooh Bertie

Terotech... I\'m glad you know that.... (the metric and the loony bit) Remember the UK went metric in 1972... Most people don\'t know, despite them teaching it in schools for nearly 40 years...

Most still assume the markers on the motorway are yard markers....

All they have to do is change your sped signs, and mile markers, and England will be fully metric...

In Australia we have been metric for longer, but inches and feet are so good for approximate measurements, we still use them...

Nice application of technology..

With Renewables, government should subsidise all development, like they did the original Fossil fired generators... The problem being that nearly all governments are bankrupt these days, and they are hard pressed printing enough cash to pay their debts, let alone funding real innovation....


This project may have a happy ending, but currently is ridiculous. I agree with Froginapot. Too expensive! This thing is costing tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars and will enable us to power 1000 homes…? The craziest part to me is that we have thousands of “lemmings” following this company, and others just like it, off the cliff of economic insanity.

This doesn’t stop economic insanity either, when you think about the environmental impact of these turbines. Currently the amazing, government backed, wind turbines are decimating bird populations, even some endangered species. What do you think this thing will do to fish, whales and sea turtles…? It’s like an episode of the twilight zone…

I do think that we need to develop new technologies to help reduce CO2, but this project and other government darling “Green” companies make me extremely skeptical of all of these initiatives. If you think that Atlantis Resources Corporation is in this for the good of their heart, you’re kidding yourself. This and other companies just like it are sucking governments dry and walking away bankrupt and with nothing to show but fat wallets for their CEOs.

Concerned Citizen
Don't assume that these turbines would be negative to wildlife. The effects might even be a bonus. The blades speeds may be low enough for fish to avoid contact or perhaps pressure waves from the blade motion will push solids away from harsh impacts. Many fish use vortexes to aid them in capturing food. If anything is wrong we already have seen such units with their blades twisted beyond repair from the sheer force of water movement. The torque in such systems can be pretty radical. We have areas near my home that an old fashioned under shot water wheel could actually make considerable power. And our ebb tides are very short lived in these locations. The flow in our salt water rivers is strong enough to defeat a powerful swimmer and actually push them backward as they try to make forward progress. It is a shame top waste such energy. Jim Sadler
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