Pulse Tidal believes its approach “will surpass the wind turbine as the most economic source of offshore power”. The tidal power device developer also says its submerged design also reduces the environmental impact.

Pulse Tidal’s tidal power device was commissioned in May in the Humber estuary’s shallow waters off Immingham Dock in the UK. It is now feeding electricity into Millennium Inorganic Chemicals on the south bank of the Humber.

The 100 kW Humber tidal power prototype system is powered by tidal streams moving horizontal blades up and down to drive a generator. Pulse Tidal is now engineering a “much larger device that will deliver the lowest lifetime cost of power from tidal streams thanks to its reliability and its straightforward installation and maintenance.”

Pulse Tidal’s CEO, Bob Smith, says: “The last few months of operation have shown that the Pulse concept offers an economic way to recover predictable, renewable energy from the tides.

“According to the latest industry figures, offshore wind energy costs between 8p and 11p per kWh to produce. We believe that the Pulse system will be more cost effective than offshore wind after only 1-200 MW has been installed.

“Pulse’s first device has opened up shallow water resources close to shore for direct connection to end users. Our next device will be much larger, providing power for around 1000 homes. It will be able to operate in a wide range of water depths, but we will focus initially on the shallow sites since they offer lower cost and are less complex. We are currently negotiating the location for our first full-scale project, which will begin operation in 2012.”

The Carbon Trust has estimated that the worldwide tidal energy market will generate over 120 TWh of electricity per year.