#Watch Limerick company to develop tidal energy device

GKinetic tidal energy
GKinetic Energy chief executive Vincent McCormack.

A LIMERICK tidal energy company is to develop its first commercial device after the successful completion of its prototype testing programme.

Newcastle West-based GKinetic Energy will develop its first 25kW commercial device after its 8kW unit generated outputs above international industry standards. The device will be capable of generating enough electricity to power up to 15 homes.

Horizon 2020 grant funding of €2.7million has been received through Gkinetic’s manufacturing partner DesignPro Ltd, which is based in Rathkeale, to commercialise 25kW and 60kW devices using its unique technology.

The GKinetic device, which will replace dirty fuels like diesel, operates in rivers and its differentiator is that its turbines – placed at either side of a vertical cylinder – exploit the natural phenomena that occurs when water accelerates around an obstacle. Research shows that the power available through this acceleration is twice that of natural water flow.

The compact design and size of the GKinetic device also means that it is easily deployed in rivers, operating in depths as shallow as 2m and widths of 3m. This means remote, off-grid communities in locations such as Canada, Siberia, Polynesia and a host of African, and South American nations, now having the option of this ground-breaking, green solution for their energy requirements.

Its 8kW prototype has been successfully tested at the Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) operated Limerick Docks for the past year. Tests at the Limerick docks, which doubles as hugely successful commercial port and Ireland’s largest marine test tank, have supported the initial results. The 25kW device will also be tested at Limerick Docks prior to being deployed at certified river or estuary test sites.

Chief executive Vincent McCormack said that they identified deployment costs as one of the key problems within the industry.

“We came up with a floating device that accelerates the flow into the turbines so we are actually getting double the speed of the water and, therefore, greater power. We are now going to develop our first commercial unit but that will require rigorous testing over two years and once we’re beyond that we expect to be into full production of 25kW machines in 2020.

“We are fully funded out for that period to bring the design to commercialisation,” he added.