CHENNAI: Harnessing wave and tidal energy, an environment friendly way to generate power, has long been crippled by prohibitive costs from being commercialised. But a proposal presented by professors of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras is close to realising that dream and if implemented, will produce 20 MW from a 6 km stretch of the North Chennai’s Sea coast.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Indo-UK Workshop on Wave and Tidal Energy Generation in the city on Wednesday, S A Sannasiraj, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-Madras, said power generation from tidal action and sea waves remains one of the costliest ways.
“A unit of electricity generated from existing infrastructure can cost up to `100. To generate 150 MW of electricity from an Oscillating Water Column (OWC) generator, the cost could run up to `4 to 8 crore,” he pointed out.
But the proposal that is set to be implemented after the required permits are obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is expected to reduce these costs drastically.
According to Sannasiraj, by merging OWC generators with the barricades and nets being built to prevent erosion of the sea bed on a 6-8 km stretch from Royapuram to Thiruvottiyur, would reduce costs for a unit of power generated drastically.
“The wave action produced by the barricades would be perfect for generating electricity. It would take about 20 km of such a structure to generate 100 MW of power. With the 6 km being constructed right now, we could see 20 MW of power generated,” he said.
Another of IIT-M’s professors at the event, V Sundar, also pointed out that a joint program to lab test the effectiveness of tidal and wave power generation has also seen success in its first stage. The next stage of the program would involve field testing the technology in the ocean, he said.
The workshop, organised by the UK Science & Innovation Network (India) and British Deputy High Commission in Chennai saw several experts from the Universities of Edinburgh,
Exeter, Plymouth and Cardiff as well as the Scottish Association for Marine Science, NIOT India and IIT-Madras giving presentations on the subject.
The marine energy industry has been forecast to be worth £6.1 billion to the UK economy by 2035, creating nearly 20,000 jobs.
UK marine energy devices feature in projects around the world.