French tidal energy developer HydroQuest has successfully connected a river current energy converter, HydroQuest 1.40, to the electrical grid in France.
Located in Orleans along the Loire river, the device uses the kinetic energy of the river current to produce electricity through vertical axis turbine system. The 40 kW HydroQuest 1.40 was installed in late 2014 and tested for 10 months in real conditions and connected to the grid in September 2015.
Even though the nameplate capacity of the machine is small, the manufacturer sees vast market opportunities ahead.
HydroQuest says its hydrokinetic turbines can be easily installed within a few months as they require no structural work. Power is produced day and night, in a regular and predictable manner, with high efficiency. The load factor is 3-4 times higher than that of wind turbines or photovoltaic panels, the company says.
A market study of Pike Research indicates that river hydrokinetic turbines can make a major contribution to energy production with 3,000 MW by 2025. This represents around EUR 12 billion (USD 13.7 bn) of direct sales, HydroQuest notes.
The company has estimated that it could produce between 300 and 500 devices each year until 2020, creating more than 100 permanent jobs.
HydroQuest is also planning to install an offshore tidal energy turbine in the near future.
(EUR 1 = USD 1.137)
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