FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Tidal Energy

What is tidal energy?


Tidal energy involves converting some of the energy in free-flowing water into electrical or other forms of energy. Tidal energy can harness the energy in ocean tides, estuaries, canals, rivers or tailraces.

No dams or barrages need be built to accommodate tidal energy devices.

Tidal energy is the only commonly available form of renewable energy which is 100% predictable, making it an ideal partner for energy storage to provide clean baseload power no matter what the weather or time of day.




Is tidal energy similar to wave power generation?


While both wave energy devices and tidal turbines derive energy from the oceans, they are two entirely different physical principles.

Wave energy harnesses the power of waves that move across the ocean. Knowing the movement of waves out to sea, allows wave energy to be quite predictable a day or so in advance.

Tidal energy relies upon the horizontal movement of water in the ocean’s tides and currents. As such, tidal is not weather dependent and is 100% predictable years in advance.




How does tidal energy generate electricity?


Flowing water contains a great deal of kinetic energy. In fact, just two cubic metres of water weighs around the same as an average car. This means that even slow flowing water contains significant energy.

In many places around the world, tides do not only rise and fall as the Moon orbits the Earth, the ocean also flow horizontally. This horizontal movement is a vast source of natural energy.

The blades of a tidal turbine are driven by the horizontal water flow, in much the same manner as a wind turbine operates. The blades of the tidal turbine are connected to the shaft of a generator which spins to produce electricity.




How often is tidal energy available each day?


In most locations around the world, two high and two low tides occur every 24 hours and 50 minutes. The time between the tides is aligned with the orbit of the moon and is slightly different to Earth’s exactly 24-hour day. This means that high and low tides occur at shifting times of the day and night – but are always 100% predictable.

The horizontal velocity changes from very slow just before high or low tide and is at its fastest midway between high and low tide. The graph of this velocity resembles a sine curve.




What speed of water flow is necessary to drive a tidal turbine?


The amount of power produced by a tidal turbine increases by the cube of the velocity of the water in which it operates.

Under a complicated formula derived by Albert Betz, doubling the velocity of water will increase power output by 8 times. Conversely halving the flow velocity will reduce power to 12.5% of its previous levels.

Because the MAKO is an extremely efficient design which is capable of generating cost-effective electricity, even in very slow flowing water. This means the MAKO is ideally suited to the vast majority of sites around the world which flow between 1.5 and 2.5 metres per second.




How often is tidal energy available each day?


In most locations around the world, two high and two low tides occur every 24 hours and 50 minutes. The time between the tides is aligned with the orbit of the moon and is slightly different to Earth’s exactly 24-hour day. This means that high and low tides occur at shifting times of the day and night – but are always 100% predictable.

The horizontal velocity changes from very slow just before high or low tide and is at its fastest midway between high and low tide. The graph of this velocity resembles a sine curve.




Is there potential for the widespread use of tidal turbines?


The MAKO has now been successfully deployed in the open ocean on a barge (in Sydney, Australia and Kagoshima, Japan), a wharf (Gladstone, Australia), a bridge (Sentosa, Singapore) and work is underway at a power station in Australia.

In each of these sites, the smaller scale of the MAKO has allowed deployment and operation using existing infrastructure thus saving costs.

Commercialisation of the MAKO has begun for customers seeking to broaden the energy mix using 100% predictable and cost-effective power from an energy resource that is hiding in plain sight near their facilities.

Details of our progress will be updated on our website and on LinkedIn.




How many houses can be powered by a MAKO?


The average Australian household consumes 18.1 kilowatt hours of electricity each day. In a slow flowing canal, a single mini-MAKO will produce enough electricity to power a home or with multiple turbines, enough for a farm or business.

By adding further MAKO turbines the amount of electricity can be increased to provide enough for larger customers or for a grid.





Technology

What is the MAKO?


The MAKO is a cost-effective renewable electricity generation system.

The energy in free-flowing water can be harnessed to produce predictable renewable electricity. This can include tides and currents as well as water flowing inland such as canals and tailraces.

The MAKO has bene designed for deployment in the widest range of water flow velocities that are found in Asia and the Pacific This will bring the benefits of predictable, clean, renewable energy to communities currently producing electricity from expensive and inefficient diesel or other coal fired generators.

Over time the MAKO will be deployed in rivers in the USA and Europe as well as in remote locations providing electrical power to aquaculture and other businesses in the emerging Blue Economy.




What are the key performance features required for a tidal turbine?


The design must be robust and have blades which sufficiently strong to withstand high forces. A tidal turbine needs to produce productive electricity levels in slow tidal flows. The MAKO has a unique bulb design which creates greater acceleration and efficiency, even in tidal flows as low as 2.5 metres per second. It also needs to maintain high efficiency in turbulent water so that it may be deployed in channels and other aggressive locations.





Operation

What special challenges arise for the materials used to build the MAKO?


Both saline and fresh water represents a challenging environment for any electro-mechanical device. Thanks to the latest advances in precision engineering and composite materials, submerged turbines are extremely robust and designed to operate in this harsh environment. The design of the MAKO turbine for example, enables long-term uninterrupted operation and in the event of any part failure, the turbine may be quickly replaced and repaired.




What impact do tidal turbines have on marine life?


The MAKO has been extensively tested, including long-term deployment in Tasmania & Queensland, Australia and Sentosa, Singapore.

No adverse effects upon the environment have been observed with the MAKO.

At the MAKO site in Gladstone, Queensland the environmental monitoring was overseen by a number of bodies, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). In conjunction with the James Cook University an artificial-intelligence-based system was developed to detect if any marine mammals were in the vicinity of the turbine and the operation of the turbine could be changed instantly, without any human intervention. No interactions with marine mammals were detected during the deployment.





Availability

Are MAKO turbines available to customers?


The MAKO is currently being rolled-out in Australia and South East Asia, with priority markets being constantly flowing channels at power stations and hydro dams.

If you wish to enquire about installing MAKO turbines, please contact us via our website.





Corporate

When was MAKO Turbines established?


The MAKO Energy business was established in 2013.

The business is owned by Elementa Energy Technologies Ltd, an unlisted Australian public company formed in 2007 to develop a portfolio of technologies in the renewable energy sector, focusing on tidal energy.

Elemental Energy Technologies Ltd is owned by private shareholders who are committed to building a successful business by offering a superior product [100% predictable renewable energy] into the largest market in the world [primary energy] at cost-effective and profitable pricing.




Where is the MAKO produced?


The development, engineering and manufacturing facility is in Alexandria, an inner-city industrial precinct in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The MAKO has been optimised for low-cost outsourced manufacturing. We have agreed terms for large-scale low-cost manufacturing overseas close to our target markets.

In addition, the simple manufacturing technologies required will allow local content to be offered.





Investment

Does the MAKO Energy business offer investment opportunities?


Investors wishing to be part of this exciting new technology may register their interest by completing the enquiry form on the Contact page of this web site.





MAKO Power Output

How much power does a MAKO generate?


There is often confusion between kilowatts and kilowatt hours. Here is an explanation:
Our initial MAKO models produce up to 15kW of instantaneous power when they are operating at their maximum output, i.e., when they are operating in fast flowing water. The kilowatts, or kW, is an instantaneous power rating - similar to a 100W light globe or a 1kW radiator.
The kilowatt hour, or kWh, is a measure of how much power is used or generated over time. A 15kW MAKO operating in constantly flowing water for 24 hours will produce 360kWh per day.
If an average Australian household consumes 18.1kWh of electricity per day, our MAKO will power 19.88 (rounded to 20) households.
This same kWh output over a day would be enough for around 50+ households in rural India, or 15 households in the US/Canada. The key concept is to differentiate between kW (instantaneous power) and kWh (how much power produced over an hour).
By way of comparison, a 15kW solar PV array in (say) Singapore would produce this maximum rated power for the equivalent of around 12.5% of the time (allowing for haze, cloud, and night - based on published figures).
Therefore a 15kW solar PV array would produce enough power for 2.5 houses compared to almost 20 for the MAKO





Sydney

Douglas Hunt

+61 439 876 116

douglas.hunt@mako.energy

Singapore​

 

Ravindran Pallaniappan

+65 98169114

p.ravindran@mako.energy

​Tokyo

Sho Minagawa
+81-90-2331-4321
sho.minagawa@mako.energy​