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Pilot Project To Tap New York’s Strong East River Tidal Current

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New York City-based Verdant Power has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a pilot license to install 30 propeller-like turbines in the east channel of the East River in New York City that could generate up to 1 MW of hydropower. Verdant expects to have the license within six to 12 months. After securing the license, it will install the grid-connected Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy system, says Trey Taylor, co-founder and president of Verdant. Though Verdant calls the system a tidal system, the power is generated from the flow of the river, not the ebb and flow of the tide. The company demonstrated its technology from 2006 to 2008 (ENR 5/26/2007 p. 26), but it had to pull the six turbines out of the water after three of the blades were damaged. The project was the first hydrokinetic grid-connected system in the nation, and delivered 70 MW per hour of power to a local business. The new turbines and rotors in the fifth-generation turbines will be stronger to withstand the river’s currents, Taylor says. The systems will be gravity-mounted, rather than installed on pilings, on a triangular platform for easier maintenance, he says. The turbine rotors, about 16 ft in dia, will be mounted in about 30 ft of water and be six to eight feet below the surface during low tide. The company intends to sell the power wholesale when operational.

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