Dynamic Tidal Power Planned For the China Coast

An economic assessment has been commissioned by the Chinese National Energy Administration to determine the viability of building a Dynamic Tidal Power (DTP) facility off the east coast of China.

The facility is ambitious to say the least and will involve the construction of a dam that extends between 60 km and 100 km perpendicular to the Chinese coast. The planned location for the dam is for the waters between Xiamen and Shantou at the entrance to the Bohai Sea.

Huge Tidal Energy Generation

The dam would become a tidal energy capturing structure with up to 4,000 turbines built into it that would capture power from the tide with the capability of generating up to 15GW of energy. This would be enough energy to power more than 10 million homes.

The DTP technology required to produce this type of tidal energy is still untested and involves a consortium of eight Dutch companies who are leading its development. The consortium, which also involves the Chinese Government, is known as the (Partners Offering a Water Energy Revolution) POWER Programme.

The DTP is essentially a T-shaped dam that takes advantage of the tidal waves that run parallel to the coasts of continental shelves. The ideal locations for these powerful hydraulic currents have been noted as being prevalent off the coasts of China, Korea and the UK.

Projects Started and Cost Estimations

Feasibility projects have been conducted over the last three years and they have demonstrated the proof of principle. There has also been extensive assessment of possible suitable locations for such a facility.

At this stage the design and construction costs of the project are still taking place with an economic assessment being conducted. The estimates put the costs in the region of $40 billion.

“We are thrilled about the fruitful co-operation with our Chinese partners,” said Arcadis River, Coast and Sea director Rob Steijn, one of the inventors of the technology. “Of course it helps a lot that many tidal conditions along the Chinese coastline are very good for the concept of dynamic tidal power.”

It is expected that the Chinese economic assessment will be completed by the end of 2014. If that meets its goal the first round of testing can be started with a more complete design to follow.

Should all aspects of the project go smoothly there is a potential that the project could be completed by 2020.

POWER consortium members

Strukton BV, NL (lead)
ARCADIS Netherlands BV, NL (coordination)
Delft University of Technology, NL
Hulsbergen Hydraulic Innovation & Design (H2iD), NL
Ingenieursbureau Oranjewoud BV, NL
IMARES, institute of DLO, NL
Pentair Nijhuis, NL

More Details About Dynamic Tidal Power

DTP Side View Concept

Dynamic Tidal Power has yet to be tested in any large-scale form. It represents a method of creating renewable energy in large quantities but is still to be put through environmental impact assessments.

The concept involves placing a large dam-like structure in a shallow sea basin that extends at least 30 km perpendicular to the shore. At the end of this dam may be another perpendicular extension that will result in the dam taking the shape of a large ‘T’ or ‘Y’.

Along the length of the dam will be a large number of low-head turbines and the water level differential (head) generated by the dam will be converted to power. The difference in the water level is only small, around 1 to 3 metres but this translates into a large discharge and that means the possibility of generating high installed power rates.

The concept was invented and patented by Dutch coastal engineers Kees Hulsbergen and Rob Steijn in 1997.

Should a project of this nature ever be developed and brought to reality it will vastly open up the potential for tidal energy as a renewable energy source.

There is a lot of information, video presentations and copies of papers and news about POWER and the technologies around DTP on the Power Programme website.

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