By Isha Lodhi
When it comes to convincing the world to move from non-renewable to clean, renewable energy sources, we are not out of feasible solutions. Solar panels, wind turbines and battery-powered cars are just a few to name. Recently, a Swedish company Minesto offered to the world, yet another low-cost, green way to harvest tidal energy. They have designed “kites”, modern underwater devices, each of which consist of a wing and a turbine. The kites are fixed to the ocean bed, and as water flows over the wing (hydrodynamic), an upward thrust is generated which allows the kite to “float”. The turbine rotates, which is used to generate electricity.
David Olinger, a Mechanical Engineering associate professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and his team have also designed a new turbine with some differences in structure and working mechanism from the Minesto’s “kite” model. The main difference of this structure from Minesto’s “kites” is that they are fixed to floating systems, not the ocean floor.
Olinger believes that ocean currents are water “breezes” which, like wind energy, have great potential to be significant power sources. He also has statistics to show that water currents are a more efficient source of electrical power than nuclear power plants. He says that the power potential of the massive water current between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic is estimated to be about 20GW; the power produced by 10 nuclear plants.
Read more at: http://news.discovery.com