On Tuesday 8th October a new design of tidal turbine was tested for the first time on the River Thames as part of the Active Energy project led by artist Loraine Leeson. Over fifty people including John Biggs, GLA member for City and East, attended an event to celebrating this highspot in the five-year project, where a small-scale turbine was moored alongside the Tamesis Dock barge to test its functionality. It is the first turbine of this scale developed for slow moving tidal rivers and has potential for low-cost replication for developing nations overseas.
The turbine was developed and built by engineer Toby Borland in consultation with a group of older men attending the Geezers Club at an AgeUK centre in East London. Five years previously when artist Loraine Leeson asked the Geezers what technology could significantly improve their lives, they decided that this would be to use energy generated by the River Thames to power their community. Since that time they have been working with the interdisciplinary team that has gathered around this project to turn their dream into reality.