The Uldolmok Strait experiences tidal water speeds that exceed 6.5 m/s with the width of the strait being approximately 300 m, an average tidal range of 3 m over the entire channel and the tidal phase difference of 100 min between both ends. The water level difference through the Uldolmok Strait is 2 m. Gorlov triple helical turbines of 1 m diameter and 2.5 m length are used to collect cross-flow tidal fluctuations.
The Uldolmok Strait in the Yellow Sea, at Jindo Island, South Jeolla, South Korea.
Korea East West Power Co. and South Jeolla Province signed an investment agreement in 2006 to develop a tidal plant in Jindo. Hyundai Construction & Engineering was chosen to construct a test power plant, while Hyundai Heavy Industries was named to develop generators and Iljin Electric was chosen to manufacture mechanical equipment.
The plant was commissioned in May 14, 2009 by the South Korean government. The plant cost 10 million USD and has an installed capacity of 1,000 KW (1 MW), generating 2.4 GWh annually, sufficient to meet the demand of 430 households.
In June 2011 Hyundai Heavy Industries completed the site trial of a prototype 500 kW tidal current power system at the site.
The prototype tidal current power system directly connects a tidal turbine, a gearbox and a generator for power transmission.
The system can operate regardless of current direction using a specially designed turbine system, the company said. After completing factory and basin tests last year, the company produced target power generation from site trials and the system continues to operate at the site.
It is planned to expand the facility to 50 MW by 2018.
The Low Carbon Green Growth Basic Act (Feb 2009) and the Green Growth 5-Year Plan: Restructuring S&T R&D Policies (July 2009) were passed in the hope that “A national paradigm that aims to deal with the challenges of climate change while at the same time create jobs and restore growth by minimizing environmental degradation and carbon emissions.” By 2020, South Korea hopes to produce 5,377 GWh/yr from ocean renewable energy. This could reach 113,000 residents and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2.3 million tons.
No studies have been conducted to analyse the direct environmental effects of the pilot turbines, much less the effects once the project expands to the planned 50 MW stage two of development. However, the project will reduce reliance on greenhouse gases for energy in accordance with UNFCCC.