Earlier this year, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine launched off the Orkney coast, where it will spend the next 15 years generating enough clean energy to power about 2,000 households in the U.K. “O2” is the novel development of the Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power, which manufactured the 74-meter-long design during the last decade and a half.
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Anchored in the turbulent waters in the Fall of Warness off the northeastern point of Scotland, the 2MW machine is connected to the onshore electricity network of the European Marine Energy Centre. The testing facility uses the powerful currents flowing through the channel from the North Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea—these streams reach 7.8 knots at spring tides—to produce a reliable electricity source for local communities. During its stay, “O2” will also support the center’s hydrogen electrolyzer, which is the first in the world to produce the pure element through tidal velocities, and further aid in broad decarbonization efforts.