EEL Energy, a French-based tidal energy developer, has released a video that explains the operating principles of their tidal energy device based on undulating membrane technology.
Undulation of the structure is caused by marine currents, but according to EEL Energy, the technology works just as well in rivers too.
The membrane comprises a semi-rigid, skeletal structure made of epoxy carbon fibre covered with a rubber membrane.
The rubber membrane works like a sail, detecting fluid pressure which is transmitted to the skeletal structure.
The kinetic energy from the fluid reaches the membrane, changes its shape, and the energy produced from this deformation is then transformed into electric energy.
When the membrane changes its shape, this movement sets off a system of coils and magnets which creates energy.
The electricity is generated by electromagnetic converters positioned on the membrane to optimize energy production.
The optimum performance of the machine is reached in flows at around 2.5 to 3 m/s.
EEL Energy recently conducted tests of the membrane on the 1:6 scaled device at Ifremer’s flume tank in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, where the machine produced first power.
Also, the company received a funding boost from its partners Bpifrance and Nord-Pas de Calais region in the amount of €500,000 to finalize the scaled prototype design, and initiate the development of the larger device.
The company intends to design and make a 1 MW machine, which is expected to be installed in the north of Scotland.