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Underwater turbines overwhelmed by powerful East River

August 13, 2007 Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Six giant turbines lowered into the East River to harness the kinetic power of its tides have been shut down for repairs and a basic redesign weeks after being dedicated.

"The good thing is that there's more power in the East River than we thought," said Mollie E. Gardner, a geologist for Verdant Power, the Virginia-based company that partnered with New York to create the six underwater turbines.

The technology for the turbines relies on the same principles as hydropower and wind power. They were shut down for repairs after the powerful East River ripped off the tips of several blades on two turbines. The company had attempted to repair them with heavier blades, but they also were unable to withstand the river's force.

"The only way for us to learn is to get the turbines into the water and start breaking them," said the company's founder, Trey Taylor. The project is in the midst of an 18-month testing phase. At full capacity, the 10-megawatt project could general power for as many as 10,000 homes. But one drawback of the technology is that there isn't always a current.

Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com


Updated: 2003/07/28