A feasibility study into an ambitious Mersey Tidal Power project has identified four options for generating electricity from the river estuary.
The four technologies that will be taken forward for fuller analysis are:
- a tidal barrage incorporating conventional turbines similar to those routinely used in low-head hydroelectric power applications
- a tidal power gate containing a grid of small turbines with technology used to produce power from, for example, reservoir spillways and sluices
- a tidal fence: capturing energy from the natural or constrained velocity of the tidal flow, with either horizontal or vertical turbines designed for generating electricity in open streams
- an alternative tidal fence based on a new device that concentrates energy in a large body of slow-moving water into a smaller body of fast-flowing water using the Venturi effect.
This list may be revised and developed as the study proceeds and further information becomes available.
The feasibility study is being led jointly by a consulting team comprising Scott Wilson, Drivers Jonas and EDF, on behalf of Peel Energy and the North West Development Agency.
Anthony Hatton, development director at Peel Energy, said: "This initial selection of technically suitable options represents a major step in the process to select a viable tidal power scheme for the Mersey Estuary Our main aim as we progress the feasibility study is to formulate an acceptable scheme on which we can base a planning application by the end of 2011.
"There is a long way to go but our goal is to have a tidal power scheme generating electricity from the Mersey in time to contribute to the national target of generating 15% of the UK's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020."