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Morgan Stanley Making Waves With Tidal Energy

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The hope of tapping the energy of the world’s oceans has attracted a number of large investors, and today one of the biggest, Morgan Stanley, has upped its investment. The investment bank announced that its tidal current energy project developer, Current Resources, has been fully acquired by tidal turbine maker Atlantis Resources Corporation. In exchange for Current Resources, Atlantis has made Morgan Stanley its largest shareholder.

Founded in 1996, Singapore-based Atlantis Resources is developing oceanic tidal turbines for deployment in “turbine farms” or “arrays.” The company has two different turbine designs — the Solon for strong, but remote, deep sea currents and the Nereus for more accessible shallow waters. Successful, grid-connected tests of the company’s turbines have already taken place off the coast of Australia, and commercial-scale array installations are scheduled to start by 2012. The Solon turbines use a ducted horizontal axis design which researchers at Oxford recently said could drastically cut the price of tidal energy.

Tidal energy faces many of the same obstacles offshore wind faces, namely a complete lack of infrastructure in world’s oceans. But countries and cities with lots of coastline are looking into the potential that tidal energy could provide. And a number of startups have sprung up and are eager to get their gear in the water.

Marin Current Turbines started testing a huge 1.2 MW turbine earlier this year. Meanwhile startups Free Flow Power and Hydro Green Energy are both aiming to tap the mighty Mississippi River for some clean energy. Unlike wind energy, which is an intermittent energy source, tidal energy is supposed to be able to provide a far more stable and consistent stream of power, tapping into the constantly shifting tides of the seas.

Images courtesy of Atlantis Resources Corporation.