As energy and climate change are currently two of the most important issues in society, many governments in the world are paying more attentions to renewable energy. Tidal current energy is a kind of ocean renewable energy; its resources are rich and its development prospects are very good. Since the 21st century, the development of tidal current energy has made great progress worldwide; a variety of tidal current energy generating devices has been in stage of demonstration project or stage of pre-commercialization. In this aspect, people are faced with the key mechanical problems of how to use all kinds of conversion devices to improve the conversion efficiency of tidal current energy. The situation of tidal current energy resources in China, the latest status of development and utilization at home and abroad, key technologies for tidal current energy utilization and utilization prospect of tidal current energy have been reviewed. Finally, the suggestion of technological development has been given combining with the present situation in China. The main contents of this paper are as follows:First, it is about the generation, characteristics and distribution of tidal current energy. The generation of tidal current, the characteristics of tidal current energy and the distribution of tidal current energy resources are mainly introduced in this part. Second, it's the development status of the technologies of tidal current energy. The process of the technologies for tidal current energy utilization and the development status in China and abroad are introduced. Third, the key technologies for tidal current energy utilization are described, including the capture and conversion of energy, transmission systems and turbines, array layout of tidal current energy conversion, construction of offshore power grid, support structures, etc. Fourth, it is the prospect of development and utilization of tidal current energy. The research focus of tidal current energy technologies at home and abroad are pointed out. Finally, the suggestions and prospects for the development and utilization of tidal current energy in China are given.
2016, 48(5): 1019-1032.