Turbine to Produce Sustainable Electricity from Ocean Currents (Important) (Download PDF)

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Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), Japan in a project titled “Sea Horse, ” harnessed energy from the Kuroshio Ocean Current flowing from the eastern coast of Taiwan and around southern parts of Japan.

Image of Turbine to Produce Sustainable Electricity

Image of Turbine to Produce Sustainable Electricity

Image of Turbine to Produce Sustainable Electricity

  • The new turbine can harness energy from ocean currents producing low-cost and sustainable electricity.

  • Uses submerged turbines anchored to the sea floor through mooring cables that convert the kinetic energy of sustained natural currents into usable electricity

  • Electricity is delivered by cables to the land

  • The ocean energy source is cheaper and easier to maintain.

  • The new turbines can be placed in the tetrapods.

What Are Tetrapods?

Image of Tetrahedral Concrete Structure Used In Breakwaters

Image of Tetrahedral Concrete Structure Used In Breakwaters

Image of Tetrahedral Concrete Structure Used In Breakwaters

  • Tetrapod is a tetrahedral concrete structure used in breakwaters.

  • Special shape dissipates the force of incoming waves by allowing water to flow around rather than against it

  • They reduce displacement by allowing random distribution of tetrapods to interlock

From Wave Turbines to Power Plants

  • Power plants would put turbines at key locations near the shoreline such as near tetrapods or among coral reefs, to generate energy.

  • Allows turbines to be exposed to ideal wave conditions to not only generate clean and renewable energy, but also protect the coasts from erosion

  • They are affordable with limited funding and infrastructure.

Advantage of Using Tetrapods to Harness Energy in Japan

  • Tetrapods are concrete pyramids structures placed along coastline to weaken the force of incoming waves and protect the shore from erosion

  • Thirty per cent of the seashore in mainland Japan is covered with tetrapods and wave breakers

  • Replacing these with “intelligent” tetrapods and wave breakers with turbines attached to or near them, would generate energy, and protect coasts

  • Just one per cent of the seashore of mainland Japan can generate about 10 gigawats of energy- 10 nuclear power plants

Details on Turbines

  • Built to withstand the forces even during harsh wave conditions as well as extreme weather, such as a typhoon.

  • Blade design and materials are inspired by dolphin fins- flexible, and able to release stress rather than remain rigid and risk breakage.

  • Supporting structure is also flexible like the of a flower- bends back against the wind.

  • Turbines also bend along their anchoring axes.

  • Built to be safe for surrounding marine life with blades rotating at speed allowing caught creatures to escape.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 21, 2017

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