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Singapore’s First Tidal Turbine Launched

Posted on the 08 November 2013 by Dailyfusion @dailyfusion
Sentosa BoardwalkSentosa Boardwalk, Singapore. (Credit: Flickr @ Jack at Wikipedia http://www.flickr.com/photos/jack_tt_lee/)

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has built Singapore’s first tidal turbine system to test the viability of tapping tidal energy to generate electricity there. The system was launched at the Sentosa Boardwalk. Tidal energy is a completely new field in Singapore.

The new tidal turbine test bed, set up in collaboration with the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), was designed, built and installed by NTU engineers from the Energy Research Institute at NTU ([email protected]).

The NTU tidal turbine system consists of two low-flow turbines mounted on the test bed, optimised for local conditions. Compared to typical turbines, these specially designed prototypes are able to work at higher efficiency despite low water speeds, similar to those found in Singapore’s waters.

This new test bed is expected to open up new research avenues for renewable energy, especially for resource-scarce countries such as Singapore. The research data gathered will allow NTU to develop more innovative turbine concepts to cater to Singapore’s environment and beyond.

In the next year of operation, the tidal energy test bed will demonstrate how low-flow tidal energy can be harnessed efficiently, and made cheaper and more reliable. The energy produced by the test bed is used to also power the lights at the Sentosa Boardwalk Turbine Exhibit. Open to the public, the informative exhibition which is part of the Sentosa Sustainability Plan, will have information about tidal energy and showcases a miniature tidal turbine prototype.

Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, Executive Director of [email protected], said investment in emerging tidal energy technologies is a demonstration of Singapore’s commitment to explore renewable energy options, much like how the country has developed its renowned expertise in water technologies.

“Apart from proving that tidal energy is feasible in Singapore, the test bed will also provide important research data on how the turbine handles local low-flow currents and the tropical marine environment,” Prof Mhaisalkar said. “More importantly, the data will allow us to improve our designs for future turbine systems, leading to new avenues of renewable energy in resource-scarce countries such as Singapore.”

The two turbines installed at the test bed extracts energy from tidal currents to generate up to a thousand watts (1 kW) of energy per hour combined, which could power about 70 fluorescent light bulbs (15 watts per bulb) typically found in households. Commercial-scale tidal turbines, like the one installed at the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, by Alstom, are usually much more powerful.


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