Underwater ocean turbines – a new round in clean energy?

Scientists say that the power of ocean currents is. A group of researchers and engineers who call themselves “smarts in wetsuits and fins” have launched a fundraising campaign for a project called Crowd Energy. Their idea is to install giant underwater turbines to generate power from deep ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida.

Although the installation of these turbines will not completely replace fossil fuels, the group says it will be an important step towards finding a new source of clean energy.

Todd Janka, founder of Crowd Energy and the originator of ocean turbines, claims that

Of course, the prospect of using underwater turbines raises concerns about possible environmental impacts. While the entire system assumes minimal threat to marine life, every effort should be made to investigate potential hazards.

For the cleanliness of the environment

The Crowd Energy project was born out of a desire to find a safe source of energy as opposed to fossil fuels and nuclear power plants. Most people have heard about the use of the sun and wind, but today the project is turning a new page globally. Janka says that despite the promise of solar and wind energy, its source is not as powerful and unstable.

Janka had previously dealt with guided submersibles and noticed that keeping the device in one place near the bottom was extremely difficult due to powerful currents. So the idea was born to use this energy, generate current and transfer it to the shore.

Some companies, such as General Electric, have made attempts to install windmills in the ocean, but this project has not yielded the desired results. Crowd Energy decided to go further. Janka and his colleagues have developed an ocean turbine system that spins much slower than a wind turbine, but has more torque. This turbine consists of three sets of blades that resemble window shutters. The force of the water turns the blades, sets the drive shaft in motion, and the generator converts kinetic energy into electrical energy. Such turbines are quite capable of meeting the needs of coastal communities, and possibly even inland areas.

Janka notes.

Бunlimited energy?

The researchers plan to build a large-scale turbine with a wingspan of 30 meters, and in the future to make even larger structures. Junk estimates that one such turbine could generate 13,5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 13500 American homes. In comparison, a wind turbine with 47-meter blades generates 600 kilowatts, but runs an average of 10 hours a day and powers only 240 homes. .

However, Dzhanka points out that all the calculations were made for , but at the moment there is no data to calculate how the turbine will behave in reality. To do this, it is necessary to design a test sample and conduct tests.

Using ocean energy is a promising idea, but it will not completely replace fossil fuels. So says Andrea Copping, a hydrokinetic energy researcher at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Washington. In her interview with Live Science, she noted that if it only concerned South Florida, but such an innovation would not solve the needs of the entire country.

Do no harm

Ocean currents influence global weather patterns, so a number of figures have expressed concern about the intervention of turbines in this process. Janka thinks this won’t be a problem. One turbine in the Gulf Stream is like “pebbles thrown into the Mississippi.”

Copper fears that the installation of the turbine could affect nearby marine ecosystems. It is assumed that the structures will be installed at a depth of 90 meters or more, where there are not many marine life, but it is worth worrying about turtles and whales.

In fact, the sensory systems in these animals are well developed to detect and avoid the turbines. The blades themselves move slowly and there is enough distance between them for marine life to swim through. But this will definitely be known after the installation of the system in the ocean.

Janka and his colleagues plan to test their turbines at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Then they would like to build a model off the coast of South Florida.

Ocean power is still in its infancy in the US, but Ocean Renewable Power already installed the first subsea turbine in 2012 and plans to install two more.

Scotland is also on the path to advance in this area of ​​energy. The northern country of the British Isles has pioneered the development of wave and tidal energy, and is now considering the application of these systems on an industrial scale. For example, Scottish Power tested a 2012-meter underwater turbine in the waters of the Orkney Islands in 30, according to CNN. The giant turbine generated 1 megawatt of electricity, enough to power 500 Scottish homes. Under favorable conditions, the company plans to build a turbine park off the coast of Scotland.

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