The Project

The Project is not a barrage, it is an “Electric Bridge”. The scheme will not impound water like a barrage, the water will be free to flow on both flood and ebb tides. An early conceptual design proposes that the Electric Bridge is sited at the estuary to maximize the generation potential and will include a foot-way and cycle track, linking Fleetwood and Knott End-on-Sea and access for emergency vehicles.

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The Electric Bridge will be constructed using Venturi Enhanced Turbine Technology (VETT), from VerdErg Renewable Energy Limited, that utilizes 80% of the tidal flow through a Venturi with no moving parts to amplify the pressure for a turbine in the remaining 20% of the flow.

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The VETT installed in a tidal environment such as the Wyre is a bi-directional device that is aligned across the estuary between the riverbanks. The VETT is porous and allows the continual free movement of tidal flow in and out of the estuary and only minimally affects the shape of the tidal signal inside the lagoon.

We are committed to protecting the unique environment of the River Wyre. The Electric Bridge does not impound water like a barrage and 80% of the water will flow through the gateway unimpeded providing free passage for fish. Because the bridge will have minimal effect on the ebb and flow of the tide the inter-tidal areas that provide a vital migratory bird habitat will only be slightly affected.

The Electric Bridge can be constructed at half the cost of a barrage, but with the same design life, and without the substantial environmental disadvantages of a barrage.

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Pre constructed Electric Bridge Sections (conceptual design)

Sections built up to form a continuous bridge between Fleetwood and Knott End

Sections built up to form a continuous bridge between Fleetwood and Knott End

The Electric Bridge can be constructed in sections adjacent to the river and each section placed in position as the project progresses.

Unlike a barrage, VETT doesn’t need to impound water to create a substantial “head” drop to power the turbines. It works in tidal flow settings with a head drop, on average, of only two metres, and the continuous flow of the tide in and out means it can generate electricity over longer cycles than a conventional barrage.

Venturi-Enhanced Turbine Technology (VETT) is a unique patented technology that uses Bernoulli’s 18th century Venturi principles to draw a primary flow of water through the device creating a pump with no moving parts. VETT’s Venturi pump draws a higher pressure secondary flow, which drives a conventional axial flow turbine. This allows it to function at an amplified head drop more effectively and economically.

It is expected that the annual energy output of the VETT will be around 75GWh but could be higher or lower depending on the detailed design data that will become available when the various topographic and environmental surveys that need to be undertaken are completed. This will supply the electricity needs of over 20,000 homes. The benefits of the “Electric Bridge” concept to the local community, however, go further than just the clean energy produced. The essence of the “Electric Bridge” is to choose a performance level during the detailed design that balances the uniquely benign environmental footprint of VETT technology and its social benefits with the cost per kilowatt-hour of the electricity generated. The resulting Electric Bridge will be an environment-friendly financial, environmental and societal asset of benefit equally to investors, consumers and the wider local community.

Copyright Wyre Tidal Energy 2015