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Turbine power project to tap marine currents
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-27 08:59

HUIZHOU, Guangdong: A pilot Kobold turbine plant is to be set up on the Zhoushan Archipelago in East China's Zhejiang Province later this year.

Kobold turbines, a marine current energy technology developed by Italy-based Ponte di Archimede, harnesses marine currents to generate renewable and pollution-free power.

The turbine has been designed to minimize environmental impact and maximize efficiency, with low construction and maintenance costs.

"The State welcomes the technology; hopefully the pilot project will be launched in November," Li Baoshan, chief of the Ministry of Science and Technology's renewable energy division, told China Daily after a conference on the Manufacturing and Application of Kobold Turbine Systems for Energy Production, which closed yesterday.

Li said the trial will contribute to the development of the technology as the system did not withstand a typhoon test in Italy.

Ponte di Archimede started to develop its Kobold turbine in 1995, and built the first pilot plant in Italy in 2001.

Extensive application of the turbine will not be possible unless the anti-typhoon technology succeeds, he said.

Emilio Vento, from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said marine current energy has benefits including great energy density, predictable power outputs, optimized cost, minimal visual impact, proximity to coastlines and no need for large civil engineering projects.

A key project for UNIDO this year, the Kobold turbine has very promising prospects in China, especially in remote areas where power transmission costs are high and where fresh investment in power generation and power grid projects is rare.

Experts at the turbine conference said the Kobold technology could be a power supply solution for less accessible regions.

Before the pilot plant is launched, Ponte di Archimede and the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion will set up a joint venture to handle project affairs, including any dispute over intellectual property rights.

Twenty-four cities and provinces in China have reported an energy crisis this year. The nationwide shortfall could be up to 10 million kilowatt hours.

"The demand for renewable energy is very great in China," said Li.

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