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13 February 2024, 7:00 am

28-Ton, 1.2-Megawatt Tidal Kite Is Now Exporting Power To the Grid

28-Ton, 1.2-Megawatt Tidal Kite Is Now Exporting Power To the Grid

Minesto, a marine energy tech developer based in Sweden, has deployed their new Dragon 12 tidal energy harvester to the Faroe Islands. Operating like an underwater kite, the Dragon 12 "uses lift generated by tidal flows to fly patterns faster than the currents, harvesting renewable energy," reports New Atlas. From the report: Where devices like Orbital's O2 tidal turbine more or less just sit there in the water harvesting energy from tidal currents, Minesto's Dragon series are anchored to the sea bed, and fly around like kites, treating the currents like wind. Just as land-based wind energy kites fly in figure 8 patterns to accelerate themselves faster than the wind, so does the Dragon underwater. This, says Minesto, lets the Dragon pull more energy from a given tidal current than other designs -- and it also changes the economic equations for relevant sites, making slower tidal flows worth exploiting. These are by no means small kites -- the Dragon 12 needs to be disassembled to fit in a shipping container. It rocks a monster 12-meter (39-ft) wingspan, and weighs no less than 28 tons. But compared to other offshore power options like wind turbines, it's an absolute minnow, and extremely easy to install using a single smallish boat and a sea bed tether. As with any renewable energy project, the key figure here is LCoE (levelized cost of energy) -- so what's it gonna cost? Well, back in 2017, Minesto projected about US$108/MWh once its first hundred megawatts of capacity are installed -- with costs falling thereafter as low as $54/MWh. The Dragon 12, like other tidal devices, will be more effective in some places than others -- and Denmark's Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the chilly North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland, offer ideal conditions. Home to about 55,000 people and more than a million puffins, the Faroe Islands funnel tidal currents through a number of slim channels. This accelerates the water significantly, and thus increases the energy that devices like the Dragon 12 can harvest. That's where the first Dragon has been deployed, and on Friday, it was connected to the local power grid to begin delivering energy. You can watch a video of the Dragon 12 on YouTube.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.