Floating Wind Turbine Harvests Energy From Ocean Currents
Japanese company Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Company (MODEC) has designed a hybrid floating wind turbine that also can harvest energy from ocean currents. The SKWID could be used to provide electricity to islands in remote places or with limited facility space, among other offshore applications.
I didn't even know it was possible to harvest ocean wave energy until I came across the Wave Glider we've both reported on. That depends on a moving object doing the harvesting. If I recall correctly, earlier wave harvesting efforts were done with stationary harvesters. Is that right?
You're more than welcome, Ann. Ocean-energy harvesting is a particular interest of mine, and I think it's really cool that a company found a way to combine current energy with wind--by using the energy to help power the turbine. It seems like just an initial step toward more widespread use of this type of energy as researchers get more creative with how they can leverage the sea and its potentially unlimited power source.
It is quite an awesome-looking turbine, in terms of size and scale, I agree, bobjengr. And quite ambitious for them to tackle this. Ocean currents are a great resource if they can be harnessed by this and other new technologies.
I also visited their web site and was amazed at the physical size of the turbine/currents combination. It's huge. Not a toy. Hopefully we can follow their progress as time goes by and get a look at data indicating actual power output. I think alternate energy possibilities will become more important as time goes by and this device could, if successful, provide power to the most remote sites. Great post Elizabeth.
I am fascinated by this. I've been intrigued with harnessing ocean current ever since an Electrical Engineering associate from our local power company was discussing turbines and the Gulf-Stream currents off Florida's coast.
After looking into the article's content a bit deeper, I discovered some amazing things you didn't elaborate on, in the summary. First was that any good engineer ought to recognize the term, "Savonius" Turbine. I, however, did not; I had to look it up. (Wikepedia is wonderful) Second; same thing for "Darrieus" Turbine. Had to look it up. (No shame ! )
But what really threw me was that I completely missed the scale of the device in operation. I hit MODEC's web site and downloaded their PDF on this which shows images in better detail and clarity. The floating yellow disc platform shown is actually about 100 feet in diameter! These "working" prototypes by MODEC are gigantic – near the size of Oil Drilling Platforms. I mistakenly depicted the apparatus as a garage-sized generator.
One sticking point I did not learn was, how is the power generated transferred to a user's location (on a remote island) ?
I agree, Rob. If researchers can find a way to use winds offshore and the ocean itself, it could be an incredible sea change (pardon the pun) for the use of renewables as an energy source. This company is targeting islands initially, but I think this type of turbine could be used in other offshore applications as well. I'm thinking something like offshore oil rigs could be powered by this kind of wind turbine, for a start.
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