Published: 25 March 2021
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Tidal turbines at the Horizon 2020 flagship EnFAIT project in Shetland have been powering homes and businesses across the island for the past five years. Now for the first time, vehicles on the island can be powered entirely by the tide.

Lead partner for the EnFAIT project, Nova Innovation, has created the first ever electric vehicle (EV) charge point where drivers can ‘fill up’ directly from a tidal energy source. By harnessing the immense power of the sea, the Shetland Tidal Array has created the reality of tidal powered cars, demonstrating the progress in commercial-scale tidal energy, and the ambition to drive Scotland to net zero.

The EV charging point is powered by tidal energy generated by the Shetland Tidal Array which combined with a battery energy storage system means that cars can be charged at any time of the day and night.

Significant improvements in technology within the tidal array, as part of the EnFAIT project, have enabled greater reliability and availability in providing power to the grid, which has led to the opportunity of powering an EV charging point purely from the tide.

What are EVs?

EVs are electric vehicles that run on electricity rather than non-renewable sources such as petrol and diesel. They offer a clean energy transport alternative by eliminating harmful exhaust emissions being pumped into the atmosphere by fossil fuels.

Transport is a major source of pollution and is responsible for around a fifth of all carbon emissions produced in the UK. In the push towards net zero, the Scottish Government has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032, accelerating the need to develop new sources of clean energy to power vehicles.

With global sales of EVs increasing by 43% in 2020¹, the opportunity to exploit our natural tidal resources are unlimited.

This is just the beginning…

Tidal technology generates electricity from the immense power of the seas and it is changing the way we power our lives. Tidal powered cars are now a reality which demonstrates the leaps forward that can be made to tackle the climate emergency on a global scale.

In November, countries around the world will come together to combat climate change at COP26 in Glasgow. We need solutions – and the EnFAIT project team can provide them.

¹The Guardian, Electric vehicles close to ‘tipping point’ of mass adoption

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