About Dynamic Tidal Power
DTP is a novel way to exploit the natural tides to generate sustainable energy on an industrial scale. It does this by building a dam-like structure extending out from the coast for at least 30 kilometers. Built into the structure is large number of turbines which generate electrical energy as the tidal flow passes through the barrier. By impeding the flow, the dam changes the long, low waveform of the tide to a shorter, higher wave, providing a significant hydraulic height differential (a head) over the dam.
The benefits of Dynamic Tidal Power
One 30-kilometer DTP dam can potentially produce electrical energy for about 3.4 million Europeans.
Tidal power is highly predictable and completely reliable due to the deterministic nature of tides, which are independent of weather conditions and climate change.
The turbines are fish friendly and since no fishing is allowed near the dam the natural ecosystem can flourish.
DTP barriers can help protect coastal lands from storm surges.
The energy yield
A single dam can accommodate over 8 GW (8000 MW) of installed capacity. The cyclic nature of the tidal flow reduces net production by 70% to 2,4 GW, implying an estimated annual power production from each dam of about 23 billion kWh (83 PJ). To put this number in perspective, an average European person consumes about 6800 kWh per year, so one DTP dam should be able to supply energy for about 3.4 million Europeans. If two dams are installed at the right distance from one another (about 200 km apart), they can complement one another to stabilize the output: one dam’s output increases while the other’s decreases, and vice versa. The Dutch population of 17 million could fulfill all of its electrical energy requirements full-time with 10 DTP dams, with no need for electrical energy storage facilities.
Technology of Dynamic Tidal Power
Dynamic Tidal Power is a new method of tidal power generation. It involves constructing large dam-like structures extending from the coast straight out into the ocean, with a perpendicular barrier at the far end, forming a large ‘T’ shape. A long T-dam like this interferes with oscillating tidal flows containing billions of tons of water, which run parallel to the coasts of continental shelves. A DTP dam is 30 to 60 km long, but doesn’t close off any area. The horizontal momentum of the tidal flow is impeded by the dam. In many coastal areas the tide flows predominantly parallel to the coast: the entire mass of the ocean water accelerates in one direction, and later in the day back the other way. A DTP dam is long enough to influence this horizontal tidal movement, producing a water level differential (head) over both sides of the dam in alternation. This head is exploited to generate electrical power by installing a large number of conventional low-head turbines spaced uniformly over the length of the dam. The head is amplified by the impact of the moving mass of water when it encounters the barrier. Although the head remains relatively small (1-3 m), the discharge (m┬│/s) is enormous, leading to power capacities measured in gigawatts.
A DTP dam can be designed to serve other needed functions, such as protection against violent storm surf and tsunamis, or providing accommodation for deep sea ports, aquaculture facilities, (controlled) land reclamation and connections between islands and the mainland.
Everyone is aware of the increasingly urgent need to abandon fossil fuels as an energy source, both because of global warming caused by combustion byproducts and because of the increasing economic and ecological costs of fossil fuel extraction, transport and storage. Energy production from sunlight or wind are attractive options, but have the drawbacks of not being available full-time and of their (lack of) availability’s not being predictable. The comparative reliability of the ocean and its tides inspires much more confidence. The ceaseless motion of the earth, moon and sun and the tidal activity it engenders make it possible to produce the electrical energy our civilization requires sustainably and on a grand scale. We are therefore making a firm commitment to the implementation of Dynamic Tidal Power, with the objective of extracting the bulk of our electrical energy from the tides and of doing so as expeditiously as possible.
The Dutch are recognized for their excellence in hydraulic engineering and for their active propagation of sustainable energy technology. It’s therefore no surprise to learn that Dynamic Tidal Power was developed by two Hollanders, the coastal engineers Kees Hulsbergen and Rob Steijn, who conceived and patented the concept in 1997. In January 2012 the POWER program was started in China, aiming to forge strong partnerships among the various Dutch disciplines, as well as between Dutch and Chinese parties. Partners in this program were ARCADIS Nederland, Technische Universiteit Delft, Pentair Nijhuis, Unido, DNV KEMA, Antea, IMARES, H2iD.
Much progress was made but then the energy prices in China dropped precipitously, so that the business case was no longer tenable in that arena. The team plans to carry on with all of its accumulated knowledge and experience, now concentrating its attention on the Dutch and European market.