REF:     FFS 4                    DATE:    17th April 2008

EMBARGO:    For Immediate Release


A unique and highly innovative UK developed vertical axis turbine that can generate power from the tidal movement of the sea, as well as from tidal rivers and inland waterways, has successfully completed the current phase of its evaluation trials according to its development engineers.

The Osprey tidal turbine is the brainchild of Cornwall-based FreeFlow 69 Ltd, research and development consultants in renewable energy, which is headed up by Pat Cooke.

Following extremely positive initial testing of a reduced-scale model in 2007, a full size prototype has recently been trialled with significant success.

A purpose-designed, state-of-the-art, 30ft long aluminium catamaran rig was designed and built by associate company, Able Engineering Ltd of Swadlincote, Derbyshire, for use in these trials.

The highly sophisticated test rig is equipped with a hydraulic scissor lift, to lower and retract the turbine housing into the water flow, and is powered by two outboard engines.

The rig drives the turbines through still water to simulate a current or flow of water at different speeds and it incorporates calibrated instrumentation to determine the power output of the turbine, together with two systems for measuring the torque loading on the contra-rotating blades.

Pat Cooke said: "Viability of the Osprey turbine concept has now been further proven. It has performed exceptionally well in the latest trials, with power output on target with our expectations."

"The Carbon Trust has estimated that wave and tidal power could provide a fifth of the UK’s electricity needs. And, whilst we are confident that the Osprey turbine could significantly aid the UK in achieving its renewable energy targets, we definitely see huge potential for the Osprey worldwide."

Precise details of the contra-rotating, vertical axis, free flow Osprey turbine still remain confidential and its operating mechanism is subject to a patent application.

It can provide power independently or as part of a larger system and outputs from 1kW up to 5MW in a multiple system are anticipated.  

The Osprey turbine has also been designed as a key component of a conceptual modular lagoon type hybrid generating system, harvesting power from tidal rise and fall, tidal flow boosted by a venturi and wind turbines.

This system could be an alternative solution to the Severn barrage, or could be included as part of it, and is a simpler development of FreeFlow 69's original Ocean Hydro Electricity Generator (OHEG) concept.

With the significant benefit of the gearbox and generator being above the water level, the Osprey turbine can operate effectively in variable depths to maximise power efficiency throughout the tidal cycle or in differing river heights.

It is also environmentally friendly, will not interfere with marine or river life and can be mounted on the sea bed or suspended on pontoons.

With its bi-directional operation it will turn the same way in a flooding or ebbing tide and its modular design enables a bank of Osprey turbines to be built up and added to in order to generate more power.

FreeFlow 69 is now actively seeking a suitable sponsor to assist with funding for the next vitally important phase of development, which will include totally independent validation of the Osprey turbine's performance and power generation potential, together with an official media announcement of these results internationally.

"We envisage that the first Osprey turbines could be in commercial operation, producing electricity, within the next two years and would also welcome the potential opportunity to partner with an appropriate, forward thinking energy supplier looking for a totally practical and advanced renewable energy solution to add to their portfolio," concluded Pat Cooke.

For more information about the Osprey turbine and sponsorship/partnering opportunities contact: Pat Cooke, FreeFlow 69 Ltd, Unit 10 Windmill Industrial Estate, Windmill, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1HB. Tel: 01726 833337. Mobile: 07734 757595. Email: Web:




REF:     FFS 3                DATE:    27th June 2007

EMBARGO    For Immediate Release


A small team of engineers in Cornwall has made a breakthrough with the development of a turbine that they claim could solve the commercial viability of tidal power.

The Osprey turbine can be used to create electricity offshore at sea or in tidal rivers and inland waterways. Following successful testing of a model rotor, a reduced-scale model prototype  has been developed to assist in the design of a full-scale prototype.

It is the brainchild of Fowey-based FreeFlow 69 Ltd, research and development consultants in renewable energy, which is headed up by Pat Cooke.

The team conceived the unique turbine concept whilst working on design and development work for their offshore Ocean Hydro Electricity Generator (OHEG), a revolutionary concept using tidal energy to create electricity 24 hours a day.

The Osprey turbine is a vertical axis free flow device which produces power independently or as part of a larger system. Power output is expected to be from 1kW up to 5MW in a multiple system.

Parts for the prototype model were pre-fabricated in stainless steel by associate company Able Engineering of Swadlincote, Derbyshire and assembled in Fowey.

With the significant advantage that the gearbox and generator are above the water level, it operates effectively in variable depths to maximise the efficiency of the power available through the tidal cycle, or in differing river heights.

It is also environmentally friendly and will not interfere with marine or river life, can be mounted on the sea bed or suspended on pontoons, is bi-directional and will turn the same way in a flooding or ebbing tide.

Due to its modular design, a bank of Osprey turbines can be built up and added to in order to generate more power.

"We already have a patent application in place and plan to build a full size prototype by the Autumn," said Mr Cooke. "If this is successful, as we are confident it will be, we intend to manufacture a range of small units for river applications, followed by a range of cross flow turbines for conventional micro hydro plants."

A prototype for an Archimedes screw type version turbine will also be produced for rivers where a weir or leat is available, such as old mill sites.

"There is still some way to go before the Osprey is fully commissioned and starts to generate electricity for the national grid," said Mr Cooke. "But if, as we envisage it will, the Osprey performs successfully, it could play a key role in providing a simple 24-7 green power system - possibly in conjunction with a simplified version of our original OHEG concept."

Able Engineering will manufacture the river turbines and take on the project management of the larger river systems, whilst FreeFlow 69 will act as developer for the larger offshore systems.

Mr Cooke, who is Chairman of Able Engineering as well as leading the FreeFlow 69 team, believes that exploiting tidal power from the sea and rivers can play a significant role in achieving the government’s targets for renewable energy.

"It is estimated by the Carbon Trust that wave and tidal power can provide a fifth of the UK's electricity needs," he said.

"The benefits of ramping up investment in tidal power generation would be considerable, providing not only a reliable source of energy, but the opportunity for Britain to be at the forefront of the global market in the same way that Danish companies took an early lead in the wind turbine industry."

"The Osprey turbine could significantly aid the UK in achieving its renewable energy targets, as well as helping to create a lot of new jobs, whilst at the same time contributing to a new green growth in the economy."

Further information will be added to the company's website as the project continues, or contact for more details and a progress report.






REF:                 HRD 6                                                    DATE :  6th April 2006

EMBARGO:     For Immediate Release



There is more than enough tidal power in the Bristol Channel to make the whole of Wales self sufficient in energy. The key to achieving this engineering challenge is developing a new type of concrete structure, similar to the Mulberry Harbour used in World War two. The Mulberry Harbour, which was a structure made from pre-fabricated reinforced concrete caissons and pontoons was one of the best kept secrets of the war. It was designed and manufactured in England, towed across the Channel to the Normandy coast, and submerged and assembled into position, to enable supplies and reinforcements following the D-day landings. Sixty years later a similar design could be the answer to producing a cost effective underwater structure to harness the enormous available energy from tidal stream and tidal head in the Bristol Channel.


The Bristol Channel is one of the best locations in the world to harness this type of energy and particularly on the Welsh coast, where the power is generally greater. There are several locations with existing power stations where the cost of connecting to the National grid would be minimal. The tidal power system will comprise of a combination of turbines operated by tidal flow and tidal head, the concrete structure will create artificial lagoons to hold back millions of gallons of water and also create venturi channels to increase the speed of the tidal streams, making them more efficient. The structure would also be used as a foundation for a wind farm, with huge savings compared to a standalone wind energy system.


The three proposed sites Swansea, Uskmouth and Aberthaw could produce between 1500 to 2000 MW, equivalent to two nuclear power stations, and with a surplus of electricity would make Wales an exporter of renewable energy. If this ambitious plan were to go ahead it would make Wales even more desirable for inward investment, with guaranteed energy costs. It would also produce a considerable amount of growth in the construction and maintenance of this exciting new industry, creating thousands of new jobs for the future, and put Wales in the forefront of this new technology.


A small consortium of companies in the South West are collaborating to try and generate interest amongst politicians and industry to take advantage of this opportunity.

The three founding collaborators being Rubicon Marine, Western Hydro and Hi-Spec Research & Development Ltd. Rubicon Marine specialise in a revolutionary type of  underwater reinforced concrete utilising waste product from lorry tyres to form part of it’s construction, Western Hydro are turbine designers with a patent applied for on a new vertical axis design suitable for this application. Hi-Spec Research & Developments based in Fowey has been set up to specialise in the engineering design connected to renewable energy.


The Government Chief Scientist, David King, has announced that it is unlikely that we will be able to prevent global warming getting out of control and it is likely that the planet will heat up to over 3 degrees Centigrade in the next hundred years. The consequences are extremely serious for mankind and the planet, with the likelihood of millions of people starving in third world countries, so it is becoming a matter of urgency that everything possible to reduce carbon emissions is undertaken.

The industrial revolution, which is the cause of carbon emissions, was started here in England which gives us even more of a moral obligation to set an example by developing this new clean energy.

Two hundred years after Isambard Kindom Brunel’s birth, probably the world’s greatest engineer, we need to learn a lesson from the spirit of the Victorian age, Brunel would not have shrunk from tackling such projects even with Victorian technology. 


The engineers and technology are in place to complete a project of this size, but what we don’t have is the clear political will to achieve it and politicians need to realise that they are accountable for the push required to start the momentum in this new industry. It is not likely that the market will initiate these type of projects without considerable help from the government.




REF:                 HRD 5                                                    DATE :  12th January 2006

EMBARGO:     For Immediate Release



THE Westcountry's renewable energy industry has taken the wraps off a new green energy project that could eventually be hooked up to Cornwall's unique Wave Hub sea bed 'electrical socket' project.

The ground-breaking Ocean Energy Rig is designed to perform a dual role, capturing energy from both tidal streams and its in-built wind turbines, and is capable of generating at least 10 megawatts of electricity output.

The first device of its kind to be patented, it is the brainchild of Fowey-based Hi-Spec Research and Developments, headed up by engineer Pat Cooke.

Unlike traditional wave devices, the self-levelling rig would use the tidal stream to produce power, creating a constant and predictable source of energy. It would also be able to capture energy from both waves and wind and would use solar panels to power on-board computers and warning lights.

It is the second pioneering device to be designed by Hi-Spec R&D, sister company to Hi-Spec Engineering. Last year it unveiled its inaugural design, the Ocean Hydro Electricity Generator (OHEG), which can capture energy from both tidal flow and significant tidal height change.

That structure, which has yet to attract funding for a prototype trial after being turned down for government grant aid, would be built on the sea bed in shallow water and easily support independently-run wind turbines. Initial calculations suggest that over 200MW of power can be produced by the OHEG - making it six times more powerful than the 30MW wind farm on top.

The new Ocean Energy Rig is smaller than OHEG at 100 metres long and is designed for deeper water as a semi submerged structure similar to an oil rig.

It would need to be sited where there are strong tidal steams combined with large waves. It would also support wind turbines and has been designed with the ability to hook up to the Wave Hub, which will itself be situated 12 miles off the coast of St Ives in North Cornwall and will link the wave projects to the National Grid via the old power station connection at Hayle.

Being created to trial various wave power projects, the Wave Hub has already attracted 16 companies from around the world to bid for the use of its sockets.

Although not at the stage to make such a bid yet, Hi-Spec is hoping that 2006 will see it attract the necessary funds to create an energy rig prototype that could be built inside 18 months under a collaboration deal with sector experts.

Mr Cooke said: "We have had a lot of interest already and we are having discussions with Rubicon Marine who specialise in sub sea concrete structures and Western Hydro who have designed tidal turbines.

"It is intended to collaborate with both South West companies."

The designs of both schemes being proposed by Hi-Spec are known as 'hybrids' - devices that can harness all the available energy at one site rather than specialising in just one.

Mr Cooke, who set up Hi-Spec R&D a year ago to advance designs for the renewable energy sector, said: "The OHEG combines tidal flow and rise and fall of tide, whereas the Ocean Energy Rig combines tidal flow with waves. Both support wind power. They will utilise all the available natural power in the area they are sited. This is going to make them more viable than none-hybrid devices.

"There are at least five perfect locations for the OHEG, such as in the Bristol Channel and Severn estuary, where there are National Grid connections on the site. This happens to be one of the best places in the world to harness tidal power.

"The new Energy Rig would be in multiples of 10 to 20 units, creating an Energy Rig farm. It would work efficiently in many sites throughout the UK and have a truly world market.

"Both systems could significantly help the UK achieve its renewable energy targets and create a lot of jobs in the South West as well as contributing to a new green growth in the economy."

Investors wanting to find out more about either project and the funding opportunities should call Pat Cooke on 01726 833337.



REF:                 HRD 2                                                    DATE :  23rd February 2005

EMBARGO:     For Immediate Release




A revolutionary breakthrough in tidal technology, with a unique system that uses the tidal stream in conjunction with the natural rise and fall of the tide to create electricity, has been developed by a research and development company based in Cornwall.

It is hoped that a prospective grant from the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), together with possible support from other commercial organisations, will now help turn this concept into reality.

The offshore Ocean Hydro Electricity Generator (OHEG) power plant allows electricity to be generated from the sea, around the clock.

Based on the use of tidal and chamber turbines, combined with energy accumulators, energy is created through the natural tidal stream and the rise and fall of the tide a more reliable energy source than wind or solar technologies.

The idea is the brainchild of engineers at Hi-Spec Research and Developments Ltd, of Fowey, and a small team is currently producing a comprehensive report on the mechanical, design and economic viability of the project.

Hi-Spec Managing Director, Pat Cooke, said: We have brought together a number of existing technologies to create the patented OHEG system.  When combined with our own energy accumulator invention, this provides a unique method for generating electricity from the sea, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To date the company has been solely funding this project, but a  grant application has now been submitted to the DTI, under their Technology Programme, to help finance a full-scale feasibility study for a plant capable of producing at least 20% of Cornwall’s energy requirements.

The offshore OHEG structure would consist of three rows of chambers and two outer walls, creating four channels, with the tidal stream then diverted through these channels.

Within the chambers would be groups of energy accumulators which create power from the rise and fall of the tide. Between the rows of chambers and the outer walls are banks of tidal turbines, with four banks per channel. The OHEG plant holds back over 6 million tonnes of water every six and a half hours and in doing so creates power through the chamber turbines.

The plant also makes a suitable foundation for offshore wind turbines, although they are not essential for its operation, and the OHEG system is six times more powerful than the wind farm it supports.

Said Mr Cooke: An ideal location would be the Bristol Channel, due to its high tide heights, strong tidal flow rates and a flat sea bed of the right depth.  Our initial calculations show that the OHEG system alone would be capable of producing 200MW of electricity, with an additional 30MW achieved by the wind farm.  Currently Cornwall uses about 650-700MW.

Whilst some concerns have previously been expressed regarding the possible erection of a barrage or dam in the Bristol Channel, which might perhaps then have an adverse effect on the immediate environment, it should be stressed that the OHEG is neither a barrage or a dam.

In addition to the very significant benefit of using renewable natural energy to create electricity, rather than using up rapidly depleting fossil fuels, the plant would create numerous jobs for the South West and have a major impact on the local economy, whilst at the same time putting the UK in a leading position with this new technology". 

He said that the anticipated generating figures were in line with the government’s policy to use renewable energy to create 20% of the country’s energy by 2020.

Britain is currently near the bottom of the international league of sustainable-energy producers, with just 4% of electricity coming from renewable sources. Energy Minister Mike O’Brien says the Government wants to increase this to 10% by 2010.

We believe that our system is an excellent way to help achieve this, and that OHEG installations could become an important and valuable renewable energy source, both in the UK and internationally, Mr Cooke concluded.

More information about the unique OHEG renewable/natural energy system can be obtained from:  Pat Cooke, Managing Director, Hi-Spec Research & Developments Ltd, Windmill Industrial Estate, Windmill, Fowey, Cornwall, PL23 1HB.  Tel: 01726 833337.  Fax: 01726 833811.  Email: