Monday 27 May 2024

The mussel raft that became a power station

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The sun hides, the wind is capricious, the dams dry up… Renewable energies have to face the cravings of their own natural resources, virtually  inexhaustible, but each of them is non negotiable. It is pretty different the case with tides. invariably, a great deal of water streaming for over 6 hours from the sea to the coast to change direction at the same time. And thus, once and again, constantly, in a predictable way and speed, which at given locations on earth go over 10 nots ( 18 km/h). It’s such a tempting option so as not to turn it into power or electricity.

The floating feature of this Galician trimaran makes it easier to maintain it

That’s what the Magallanes Renovables project is all about, a company based in Redondela, which have decided to press on with a large amount of megawatts of power coming from sea tides. And in order to achieve this objective, at Cardama shipyards in Vigo, a prototype has been put on display,  a floating trimaran of over 350 tones with 19 mt propellers attached to it. Its challenge will be to make the best of water streams at an angle of 270 degrees.
The Magallanes project is backed up by a big ally : its main feature is the floating device. It’s an all Galician project, which solely oversees the estuaries and the mussel rafts . Likewise , the trimaran  of Magallanes Renovables is floating at the top of the sea but anchored to the bottom with a lot of maintenance benefits. It does not need any big time pillars or infrastructure. It’s simply an efficient system of anchorage, which allows to take advantage of the top speed of sea tides and currents close to the surface of the water.

Tests on a prototype scale.

“Maintenance has always been the Achilles heel of this sort of project. We have something different here, our system allows anyone on board , to access the facility or to fix it quickly in situ if any problem arises. ”, explains  Pablo Mansilla, technical coordinator of the project. This innovative device has overcome already a plethora of trial tests 2014. They tested a prototype of 1:10 scale. Now they’re at the very end of the assembling and building of the first real time and place product. Before the years finished this device will face the music at sea.
“Tides are now in an initial same state of development as  winds were 20 years ago; this is the future ” says a company’s PR. This device like the one made in Vigo can power up to 2 Megawatts of electricity. “A park with over 200 rafts would be enough to provide with power to a city  like  Vigo”, same energy is necessary.
The Xunta has backed up this project through the Galician  branch of the I+D, and  specially the 40 college and technological institutions researchers have joined forces in this project. Their objective is to open up new doors to this industry. This time, Galicia whose beaches open a large space between high and low tides. The most important thing here is the knowledge and the Industrial applications.



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