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Tocardo reaches for the moon

Major step forward in energy extraction from the perpetual motion of the moon

Dutch company Tocardo Tidal Power has successfully tested a scaled version of a 1.5 MW Universal Foundation System (UFS). The test marked a major step forward in the extraction of clean energy from perpetual tidal motions at offshore locations.

Effectively, this means energy extraction from the perpetual motions of the moon and the sun. The scale model was tested in high current conditions of up to 7 m/s and wave conditions of up to 17 m peak height. Tocardo’s Chief Technical Officer, Pieter de Haas comments: “The scale model passed the test with flying colours and behaved even better than expected.”

Tocardo is a leading player in the development of tidal power technologies. The ultimate goal is to extract renewable energy at sufficiently low cost level to compete with other renewable sources, such as offshore wind. Tocardo has already successfully installed 12 tidal turbines in rivers, near shore locations and at existing inshore civil structures. Tocardo’s 1.2 MW plant in the Dutch Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier is one of them. Tocardo designed and produced the tidal and free- flow water turbines and Huisman, designed, built and financially sponsored the turbine’s suspension structure. This installation is the largest tidal energy project in the Netherlands, as well as the world’s largest commercial tidal installation of five turbines in an array. This plant now delivers clean energy to around 1,000 households.

Jaap de Wilde

The new UFS is designed for fully exposed operation in offshore locations with high tidal currents. This is fundamentally

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different from a system which is placed in an existing civil structure. The U-shaped, streamlined underwater body supports five 300 kW turbines. The structure has most of its body underwater and has two small floaters in the waterline. It is kept in place with mooring lines to fixed anchor points on the seabed.

Tocardo sees good prospects for the new UFS at the EMEC test site near the Scottish Orkney Islands and at the Fundy Ocean Resource Centre test site in the Minas Passage of Canada. Tocardo is hopeful that it can deliver a fully operational system in 2018-2019.

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