TIDAL technology is now being used to help decarbonise part of Scotland's transport sector in the islands, with cars now fuelled by the power of the sea, in what is believed to be a UK first.

Global leaders in tidal energy Nova Innovation have announced that cars in Shetland can be "filled up" directly from a tidal energy source and effectively fuelled by the power of the sea, in what is believed to be a UK first.

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The first-ever electrical charge point is located on the scenic shores of Bluemull Sound, at Cullivoe harbour on the island of Yell in Shetland.


Meanwhile, beneath the water, Nova’s tidal turbines have been powering homes and businesses in Shetland for more than five years. 

Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, said the technology is "changing the way we power our lives".

He added: "We now have the reality of tidal powered cars, which demonstrates the huge steps forward we are making in tackling the climate emergency and achieving net zero by working in harmony with our natural environment.

“In November, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland as nations come together to combat climate change at COP26.

"At Nova, we deliver blue energy solutions that can be deployed all around the world, delivering clean, predictable energy direct from the sea to our clients to meet whatever energy needs they have – electricity, heat or transport.”

Fiona Nicholson from Cullivoe is an electric car driver and welcomed the new addition as a benefit for the local community.

HeraldScotland: One of Nova Innovation's water turbinesOne of Nova Innovation's water turbines

She said: “I am delighted that we have an EV charge point powered by the tide. I work in Lerwick, so I need access to a charge point, and it is exciting to have this on my doorstep.

“Most people in Shetland live close to the sea - to be able to harness the power of the tide in this way is a great way to use this resource.

“I have followed Nova Innovation from when they built their test model in Leith up until now. We are very lucky to have a long stretch of coastline in Shetland and I think there will be a lot of interest in this technology and how different businesses could use it.”

Traditional combustion engine vehicles are responsible for around a fifth of all carbon emissions in the UK.

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In the push towards net zero, the Scottish Government has banned the sale of new cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032, accelerating the need to develop new sources of clean energy to power vehicles.

The Nova project has received grant funding through Transport Scotland to install the EV charging infrastructure as part of the clean energy transition.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said:

“It’s fantastic to see that Nova Innovation is demonstrating yet again that Scotland remains at the forefront of developments in zero-emission transport solutions. I’m pleased that Scottish Government funding is enabling the installation of a new charge point in Shetland which operates entirely on renewable tidal energy.

“This type of innovation is key in responding to the global climate emergency and highlights the opportunities that can be realised here in Scotland as we transition to a net-zero economy.”