Alstom, a company supplying both services and equipment for electricity generation, has conducted an inaugural ceremony to launch a facility for Alstom Hydro’s Ocean Energy Activities in the Nantes region. The characteristics of BELUGA 9, which is a tidal electricity generation turbine was disclosed during the inauguration.
The BELUGA 9 would be tested for the first time in Canada’s Bay of Fundy in 2012. The Alstom Ocean Energy endeavor was established in 2009 after Alstom had inked a technology licensing agreement with Clean Current, a Canadian company. The Ocean Energy activities would gain a lot from the Alstom group’s vast experience in the hydroelectric dam equipment segment, which actually covers 25% of the world’s installed hydropower capability. Its total capacity surpasses 2685 MW.
Alstom Hydro and Wind’s Senior Vice President, Phillips Cochet stated that the potential for tidal energy was huge between 50 and 100 GW globally. France and UK has 10% of the potential. He disclosed that the unique advantages of tidal energy were the accurate prediction of the amount of energy, which would be produced; and the invisibility of tidal generators after being submerged. Further he also said that the company was moving into an industrialized and testing phase that would help them to come back with a dependable solution soon after the call for tenders.
The activities would be concentrated on the Island of Nantes, which is the French shipyard industry’s historical site, under the guidance of Phillip Gilson who is the Ocean Energy Manager for Alstom Hydro. His team would design, produce and market the new adaptation of tidal turbines, which would generate electricity from tidal currents.
BELUGA 9, which is suitable for powerful currents such as 4.5m per second or 9 knots on the surface through spring tides is Alstom’s premier tidal turbine generator. On installation it would have a 13 m diameter and a 20 m height, which is similar to a six-storey structure. It is intended for sites with depths of around 30 m, which are found in the English Channel.
Furthermore, preliminary studies have just begun in the Nantes division for creating a second model to be utilized at sites with greater depths and less powerful tides. The testing phase would commence in 2013 in Brittany. If tidal generators are mounted in all appropriate underwater sites then a staggering 100 TWh of electricity could be generated every year, which would be sufficient to power up to 20 million homes in the Western European region.