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Startup wants to build small, affordable tidal power plants with the 3D printer

Lance McMullan, entrepreneur and inventor from Juneaus, Alaska, wants to harness the power of the oceans for a clean and decentralized energy supply for remote coastal communities. With his company Sitkana, he is working on the Chinook 3.0, a small, 3D-printed tidal power plant for individual users.

In contrast to massive turbines anchored to the seabed, the Chinook 3.0 impresses with its low weight of around 45 kilograms and self-supporting structure. This makes it the ideal solution for locations away from an interconnected grid. Users can simply deploy the turbine from their boat in strong tidal currents. By turning the rotor underwater, it generates electricity from the force of the water movement.

Thanks to 3D printing, McMullans saves on construction costs. The highlight, however, is the use of plastic as a consumable material: when a system is worn out, it is replaced and the old material from the next one is recycled.

It is precisely this affordability that the inventor has in mind – especially for areas without a reliable network or with an expensive diesel supply. With a unit price of around 2,000 US dollars, the Chinook 3.0 could provide coastal communities with affordable marine energy.

The turbine will soon be tested on a tidal current system. A market launch is planned for 2025. McMullan’s vision of bringing ocean energy to remote regions could then become a reality.

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