Electricity from the tides - contributing to a renewable energy future for Tasmania

The past energy crisis in Tasmania highlights the volatility of electricity production based on conventional sources of energy and the need to find new and better solutions to electricity supply.  That day is coming soon! 

The primary aim of this commercial research study is to develop a cost effective means for generating electricity from the tides, with the ultimate goal of supplying electricity to the grid.

MAKO Tidal Turbines is excited to team up with the Australian Maritime College (AMC) and AMC Search (AMCS) to undertake this multi-phased research initiative.  AMC’s extensive ocean energy industry knowledge, their academic and scientific credentials, along with their technology testing facilities made them a natural choice as our research partner.  In turn, the opportunity to collaborate with MAKO Tidal Turbines helps AMC move closer to establishing the first ocean energy testing and demonstration site in the Southern Hemisphere.  


Project Timeline 

PHASE 1: March 2016 

Tank Test #1 – COMPLETED
Key Test Objective:
Performance tests on an 8-bladed and 10-bladed prototype turbines


PHASE 2: July 2016

Tank Test #2 – COMPLETED  
Key Test Objective:
Performance tested a larger prototype turbine with varying blades

PHASE 3: August 2016

Key Test Objective:
Evaluated turbine system performance in real-world conditions

PHASE 4: October - December 2016

Real world testing – Tamar River Estuary - DURATION EXTENDED AND COMPLETED APRIL 2017

Research Activities:

  • Electricity production

  • Mechanics and operations, such as generator controls

  • Environmental, such as noise generation, marine life activity and debris accumulation

  • Virtual data collection and operational control via satellite and communication system


APRIL 2017

MAKO Tidal Turbines, in collaboration with AMC, recently completed Phase 4 of its tidal technology development research project in the Tamar Estuary.  After seven (7) months of continuous research, we conclude this segment of work.  Data collected from the previous phases of research will be analysed and the results used to test the next generation of MAKO turbines. 

Please watch this page for further updates.  





13 October - Media Day at AMC.  AMC & MAKO project presentation to media


14 October, 10am - Community Information Event (open to the public) - The Auld Kirk Church, Sidmouth

MAKO/AMC Community Information Forum


October 18 – 22, 2016.  Australian Ocean Renewable Energy Symposium (AORES) in Melbourne, sponsored by CSIRO.  MAKO and AMC co-presentation of research activities and results.

October 24 – 27, 2016.  Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC), Singapore.  MAKO Managing Director, Doug Hunt, showcases MAKO tidal turbines.


Our vision is to supply predictable, clean electricity for homes and businesses in Tasmania as well as other locations throughout Australia and the world.  To accomplish this, we are undertaking a multi-phased research initiative to gain critical knowledge about the factors required for success of our technology.

Specifically, we will be researching:

  • Technical Performance: evaluating how much electricity the turbine produces in varying conditions, optimisation of turbine design and performance, and operating by remote controls including satellite.

  • Operating Conditions: how the turbine responds in varying water flows, weather conditions and physical surroundings, such as turbulence.

  • Environmental Analysis:  evaluating the interaction of the turbine in the biological community.  A comprehensive environmental monitoring program has been designed.  MAKO and AMC will be keen to demonstrate the turbine’s minimal environmental impact on the marine ecology of the estuary and its inhabitants.



The Tamar Estuary was chosen as our premier research location for the following reasons:

  • AMC’s ocean energy scientific expertise, support infrastrucuture and 3rd party validation of MAKO's research.

  • Collaborative commercial research with AMC and their enthusiastic interest to become our research “partner”.   AMC has received the necessary approvals to conduct this research from marine authorities Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) and TasPorts, and the support of regional natural resource management body NRM North.

  • Ability to test in a variety of conditions – from prototype testing in AMC’s tow-tank to stationary in-water moorings.  This provides us an opportunity to slowly grow the capacity of our turbine.



Project Contact:

Stephanie Thornton, MAKO Program Director
M: +61 0458 684 018

The future of predictable renewable energy

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