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Tidal Power Technology

Programmes / Technology

Tidal Energy or Tidal Power as it is also called, is another form of hydro power that utilises large amounts of energy within the oceans tides to generate electricity. This ebbing and flowing of the tides happens twice during each period of rotation of the earth with stronger weekly and annual lunar cycles superimposed onto these tides.

When the moon is in perfect alignment with the earth and the sun, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun together becomes much stronger than normal with the high tides becoming very high and the low tides becoming very low during each tidal cycle. Such tides are known as spring tides maximum. These spring tides occur during the full or new moon phase.

The other tidal situation arises during neap tides minimum when the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun are against each other, thus cancelling their effects. The net result is a smaller pulling action on the sea water creating much smaller differences between the high and low tides thereby producing very weak tides. Neap tides occur during the quarter moon phase. Then spring tides and neap tides produce different amounts of potential energy in the movement of the sea water as their effects differ from the regular high and low sea levels and we can use these tidal changes to produce renewable energy.

So we can say that the tides are turning for alternative energy. So we now know that the constant rotational movement of the earth and the moon with regards to each other causes huge amounts of water to move around the earth as the tides go in and out. These tides are predictable and regular resulting in two high tides and two low tides each day with the level of the oceans constantly moving between a high tide and a low tide, and then back to a high tide again. The main big advantage of this is that the tides are therefore perfectly predictable and regular unlike wind energy or solar energy, allowing miles of coastline to be used for tidal energy exploitation and the larger the tidal influence, the greater the movement of the tidal water and therefore the more potential energy that can be harvested for power generation.

Therefore Tidal Energy can be considered as a renewable energy source as the oceans energy is replenished by the sun as well as through tidal influences of the moon and suns gravitational forces.


Since the position of the earth and the moon with respect to the sun changes throughout the year, we can utilise the potential energy of the water contained in the daily movement of the rising and falling sea levels to generate electricity. The generation of electricity from tides is similar in many ways to hydro-electric generation we looked at in the hydro energy tutorials.

The difference this time is that the water flows in and out of the turbines in both directions instead of in just one forward direction. Tidal energy, just like hydro energy transforms water in motion into a clean energy. The motion of the tidal water, driven by the pull of gravity, contains large amounts of kinetic energy in the form of strong tidal currents called tidal streams.

The daily ebbing and flowing, back and forth of the oceans tides along a coastline and into and out of small inlets, bays or coastal basins, is little different to the water flowing down a river or stream.

Electricity generation potential

The movement of the sea water is harnessed in a similar way using waterwheels and turbines to that used to generate hydro electricity. But because the sea water can flow in both directions in a tidal energy system, it can generate power when the water is flowing in and also when it is ebbing out. Therefore, tidal generators are designed to produce power when the rotor blades are turning in either direction. However, the cost of reversible electrical generators are more expensive than single direction generators. Fixed within the tunnels are huge water turbine generators that spin as the water rushes past them generating tidal electricity.

Tidal barrages generate electricity using the difference in the vertical height between the incoming high tides and the outgoing low tides. As the tide ebbs and flows, sea water is allowed to flow in or out of the reservoir through a one way underwater tunnel system.

Upcoming Events

This flow of tidal water back and forth causes the water turbine generators located within the tunnels to rotate producing tidal energy with special generators used to produce electricity on both the incoming and the outgoing tides. However, because tides are totally predictable, other power stations can compensate for this stationary period when there is no tidal energy being produced. Another disadvantage of a tidal barrage system, is the environmental and ecological effects that a long concrete dam may have on the estuaries they span. Major tidal flows and ocean currents, like the Gulf Stream, can be exploited to extract its tidal energy using underwater rotors and turbines.

Tidal stream generation is very similar in principal to wind power generation, except this time water currents flow across a turbines rotor blades which rotates the turbine, much like how wind currents turn the blades for wind power turbines. This book is aimed at a wide readership including professionals, policy makers and employees in the energy sector needing an introduction to marine energy. Its descriptive style and technical level will also appeal to students of renewable energy, and the growing number of people who wish to understand how marine devices can contribute to carbon-free electricity generation in the 21 st century.

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Electricity Wave Tide Introduction by Paul Lynn - AbeBooks

View on Wiley Online Library. This is a dummy description. LYNN obtained his B. Eng and Ph. As a retired academic, Dr.

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