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Giant tidal turbine hits Scotland's coast

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Atlantis unveils what could be the biggest tidal device ever. The company hopes it will bring waves of marine power investment with it.

The latest, and possibly largest, marine power turbine debuted Wednesday on its way to the coast of Scotland's Orkney islands.

In this corner of the world, the cold, rough-and-tumble North Sea takes few prisoners. But weighing in at 130 tons and standing at 73 feet tall, will also be the AK1000.

Designed to withstand the harsh open ocean as it harnesses the energy of its tides, the AK1000 is said to be big, slow and dependable. Atlantis describe their creation to the BBC as "simple and robust." They say at a water velocity of about 9 feet per second, the device's almost 60-foot-diameter rotor can predictably generate 1 megawatt of *power. (*edit)

Later this summer at the European Marine Energy Centre, Atlantis will install the turbine into the seabed. As the tides go in and out, the power produced will go to the local Orkney grid, where it could supply enough electricity for 1,000 homes.

Atlantis CEO Timothy Cornelius says in a statement:

Today is not just about our technology, it is about the emergence of tidal power as a viable asset class that will require the development of local supply chains employing local people to deliver sustainable energy to the local grid. The AK1000 takes the industry one step closer to commercial scale tidal power projects.

If we receive the same support from all levels of government that the oil & gas industry received to make the North Sea the success that it is, then the future is very bright for marine power and even brighter for Scotland.

Turning at 6 to 8 revolutions a minute, the rotor blades pose little threat to the marine environment and its wildlife, says the company.

Images: Atlantis Resources Corporation
Via: BBC

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Melissa Mahony

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Melissa Mahony has written for Scientific American Mind, Audubon Magazine, Plenty Magazine and LiveScience. Formerly, she was an editor at Wildlife Conservation magazine. She holds degrees from Boston College and New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure