Scotland’s Orkney Islands are home to renewable energy experts Orbital Marine Power. The company’s O2 tidal turbine recently began providing grid-connected power to around 2,000 UK homes. The turbine is also providing energy to the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre.
The O2 is 74 metres long and has two underwater, retractable legs. Ten metre-long, bi-directional blades are attached to the end of each leg and are easily raised to the surface for rapid access for maintenance. A cable connects the turbine to an onshore electrical grid, and the company is already working on different blade sizes for a variety of commercial uses.
The O2 is predicted to have a useful life span of up to 15 years and can power up to 2,000 homes while offsetting more than 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. As more turbines are installed, the cost of turbine-generated energy is likely to decrease.
Other renewable energy innovations which Springwise has spotted recently include a synthetic mangrove tree that purifies water and a new natural gas creation system that uses electrolysis to compensate for seasonal weather fluctuations.