A ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding to create the world’s first tropical environment focussed tidal energy research centre in Darwin has been signed by Tenax Energy Pty Ltd (“Tenax Energy”) and Charles Darwin University (CDU).
The Testing Centre (and associated Pilot Plant), is the first step towards delivering affordable tidal energy to Darwin by the end of the decade.
The establishment of a world class, commercially oriented research and testing facility (Tropical Tidal Testing Centre or ‘T3C’) aims to stimulate collaboration in tropical tidal energy generation globally across research institutions and device manufacturers.
“The collaboration with Charles Darwin University is significant from an international perspective”, Tenax Energy Managing Director Alan Major said. “The world’s biggest test site, the European Marine Energy Centre in Scotland, is already at capacity and we see significant opportunity in taking what we learn about the tropical environment here in Darwin to support growth in the sector in Asia.”
Central to the T3C program will be the technical research conducted with the active participation of technology developers. The T3C research framework will provide opportunities for technology innovation and build a platform of knowledge and experience to underpin the growth of a new industry in the Northern Territory.
“We are excited to have received expressions of interest from a number of Australian and international equipment manufacturers, because the tidal energy sector is viewed as the next big thing,” Mr Major said.
CDU’s Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Director Andrew Campbell said the MOU would pioneer research into the interaction of these technologies within a tropical environment. “It will also attract a range of professional and trade qualifications in marine, electrical and structural engineering disciplines across the renewable energy spectrum, in addition to other associated research opportunities in environmental science and economics,” Professor Campbell said.
The Clarence Strait tidal energy resource has the potential to redefine Darwin’s relationship with Asia. In terms of the recently released White Paper, leveraging this resource will contribute significantly to the acceleration “of Darwin’s evolution as a sophisticated, liveable city built around a gateway to Asia, and a regional hub” in tropical tidal energy.