Following the award of development and demonstration funding to Nautricity, the Mull of Kintyre is to be the first test site for a ground-breaking new generation of tidal energy technology.
The Glasgow-based renewables company was awarded the funding by the Scottish Government.
Nautricity will use the £1.4million award towards the £4.9million cost of deploying its innovative CoRMaT tidal current turbine (TCT) in the sea, south of Machrihanish.
Electricity generated by the device will be fed into the electrical network. It is hoped the testing phase can begin as early as next summer and completed by March 2014, with plans for full scale commercial deployment ready to begin soon after.
The device, which is capable of generating 500kW of electricity, uses a patented rotor system which, developers claim, overcomes many of the problems which have made tidal energy production uneconomic until now.
While conventional tidal devices resemble wind turbines mounted on the seabed, incurring enormous deployment and engineering costs, CoRMaT is a small capsule, tethered to a sub- surface float, which uses a novel, contra-rotating rotor-generator system to effectively harness tidal energy.
Nautricity has already signed a lease agreement to develop the Kintyre installation with The Crown Estate which, as owner of the UK seabed out to 12 nautical miles, will be the overall guardian and facilitator of the project.
The company is now in discussions with Marine Scotland, the government department responsible for the management of Scotland’s seas, to progress licensing and planning issues.
Nautricity chief executive Cameron Johnstone said: “We are delighted to be chosen as one of the companies to take a new generation of tidal energy technology forward.”