Oxford Turbines to Harvest Energy from Tides
25 October 2010
A new company, Kepler Energy Limited, has been formed to develop a second-generation tidal turbine, which has the potential to harness tidal energy more efficiently and cheaply, using a device which is simpler, more robust and more scaleable than current designs.
The turbine is the result of research in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford by Prof Guy Houlsby, Professor of Civil Engineering at Oxford, Dr Malcolm McCulloch, head of the electrical power group, and Prof Martin Oldfield, Emeritus Professor of the thermofluids laboratory.
Kepler Energy Limited will design, test and develop a horizontal axis water turbine intended to intersect the largest possible area of current. The rotor is cylindrical and rolls around its axis, thereby catching the current.
The researchers received £50,000 in funding from the Oxford University Challenge Seed fund, managed by Isis, to build a 0.5 metre diameter prototype demonstrating the benefits of the design. A full-scale device would measure up to 10 metres in diameter, and a series of turbines can be chained together across a tidal channel.
UK waters are estimated to offer 10 per cent of the global extractable tidal resource. Tidal currents are sub-surface, so tidal turbines have minimum visual impact, unlike wind farms or estuary barrage schemes.
Tom Hockaday, managing director at Isis Innovation said: “This is the latest in a number of spin-outs from the Department of Engineering Science. Isis is fortunate to work with such an entrepreneurial department, particularly on technologies which have the potential to make a big impact on our energy supply.”
Media enquiries to:
Marketing & Communications Manager, Isis Innovation Ltd
T: +44 (0) 1865 614428
F: +44 (0) 1865 280831
About Isis Innovation
Isis Innovation is the University of Oxford's technology transfer company and manages the University's intellectual property portfolio, working with University researchers on identifying, protecting and marketing technologies through licensing, spin-out company formation and material sales. Isis files on average one new patent application each week, has concluded over 500 technology licensing agreements, and established 66 new spin-out companies from Oxford. Isis also manages Oxford University Consulting, which arranges consulting services providing clients access to the world-class expertise of the University's academics to enhance innovative capability. Last year OUC arranged over 150 consulting deals. Isis has established a separate business division, Isis Enterprise, offering consulting expertise and advice in technology transfer and open innovation to university, government and industrial clients around the world. Isis was founded in 1987 and is today one of the world's leading technology transfer and innovation management companies.