Gallery: Oxford Unveils Next-Gen Underwater Turbines


Underwater turbines that harvest tidal currents have already become an established technology in the world of clean energy. So in order to push the frontier further, a group of engineers at Oxford have been tinkering away on a design that promises to be even more powerful and efficient. The group recently introduced an innovative Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine that will not only collect more energy but require 60% lower manufacturing costs and 40% lower maintenance costs.

The THAWT is considered to be a “second generation” turbine as opposed to the first generation models that resembled windmills. It consists of a cylindrical rotor that rolls around its long axis with the flow of water, instead of turning at right angles. Promising to be more efficient and powerful than other underwater turbines, each THAWT is predicted to produce 12 megawatts of energy – enough to power 12,000 family homes and significantly more than other underwater turbines of today.

Despite these achievements, concerns still exist regarding the ecological effects of erecting underwater turbines fields . Earlier this year, an underwater turbine was installed in Ireland’s Strangford Lough, and its makers claim that the propellers spin slowly enough to allow marine life to swim by unharmed (about 10 to 20 times a minute).

Although it has yet to be determined how this new model will take into account the critters of the sea, Steph Merry, head of marine renewable energy at the Renewable Energy Association, has stated that they taking into full consideration the “balance between the need to tackle climate change and the requirements to safeguard the ecology of tidal areas.”

+ Oxford University

+ Renewable Energy Association

Via Guardian UK


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  1. B S Murty June 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    14 th June, 2010.

    An EXCELLENT Concept and a valiant effort.

    We shall appreciate if smaller turbines are developed for the benefit of Developing Countries. From our Institute we shall gladly participate in field trials etc.

    Pl. keep us on mailing list for info and further developments.



    B S Murty.

  2. Uvision November 19, 2008 at 10:38 am

    How do you deal with corrosion/growth formations?

    Regards Jes

  3. Barry October 30, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I have a design for a run of river power generation unit not too disimilar to the one displayed here.It is based on a modified Savonious Rotor and can be horizontally or vertically mounted,is reversible (tidal applications) and lends itself pefectly to shallow water applications too.


  4. yugi4moto September 21, 2008 at 3:19 am

    i think it is still kind of fast spinnig 20 times a minute. i am not aware of the size of this thing. should this be protected from access just for safety (with a wireframe or something) so no one could get hurt there? despite the above i think its a great project. Anything can save the planet is good.
    We should try consume less energy though

  5. hugo callen September 12, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Please, I need information from turbine marine from Oford University. thanks.

    Hugo Callen

  6. hugo callen September 11, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    This es wonderfull, i need infomation from tis turbines, is this sistem the solution to much problem from comunitis poors.

  7. BJ September 11, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Your parents mower was rusty, dirty, dull, badly adjusted and totally unrelated to this turbine.

  8. dimtick September 10, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    this looks like one of those oush mowers that I hated growing up. that thing was incredibly inefficient and incredibly hard to get going. they say this will be efficient but if it’s as hard to get going as my parents push mower then I’ll be amazed if it spins at all.

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