The UK government has awarded a £800,000 grant ($1 million) to a US-led consortium for the development of a new type of water turbine. Jacobs, the leading firm in the consortium, stated that the technology aims to enhance the viability and potential of tidal range power projects in the UK. The grant, provided by the UK Research and Innovation fund (UKRI), will support the consortium consisting of Severn Estuary Tidal Bar Limited, Cardiff University, Liverpool John Moores University, and the Tidal Range Alliance.
The funding will be utilized to advance the optimization and testing of the Very Low Head turbine (VLHT). The program includes computational fluid dynamics modeling, a large-scale test rig, and the production of a fully functional prototype turbine at Jacobs' Technology and Innovation Center in Warrington.
The VLHT is specifically designed to address challenges faced by various UK tidal range schemes, such as reducing costs, enhancing turbine performance for bi-directional generation, and minimizing environmental impacts. The research aims to create an economically and environmentally sensitive turbine, enabling developers of tidal range power projects to harness predictable renewable power from daily tides.
Jacobs Senior Vice President Karen Wiemelt emphasized the company's commitment to advancing the technology to support renewable energy resource development and climate response efforts. The grant is part of ongoing efforts to enhance tidal stream energy development in the UK.