We’ve harnessed the power of the sun’s energy through solar technology and SolarCity is an example of it. The Moon has been feeling bad about it and it wants to be helpful and important too. Well guess what, we might soon be putting it’s power to use. How, you say? Tidal energy.
Ocean waves carry immense power that is just waiting to be tapped into. We’ve tapped into the power of flowing rivers (waterfalls, primarily). Tidal waves are probably even more powerful than a river would be. So why not harness that energy? What’s been stopping us from doing so? The answer is technology. We did not have the system design that would be able to harness that power. With rivers, the turbine is forced to move with the flow with part of it being outside the water. This allows for it to be pushed at one end, forcing circular motion. But with the ocean waves, the turbine, to be in a wave intensive area, would either have to be completely submerged, or really, really huge. Let’s not go to designing huge turbines. We still have to move ships in the ocean.
So submerged it is. But being submerged would leave the traditional turbine design useless. Equal force on both ends would leave no room for the circular motion. The idea then would be to design the rotors in a hydro-dynamic fashion. We already have something similar. Wind mills, with their aero-dynamic designs. Why not replicate that? Actually people have and it has not turned out to be the best of the ideas. It is a bit inefficient, things don’t move as fast under the ocean pressure. And the marine life is not particularly happy about it either. But marine life primarily resides in the depth of the oceans. Why not do something closer to the shores? We have quite some ways around there too.
Well a British start up has done just that. It has proposed the plan to build a “Tidal fence” that will convert the power of the waves to energy as they moved towards the shore. It is expected to produce more power more cheaply than the off-shore wind farms. FYI, these are the non-eco-friendly installations in the ocean. Being in the shallow regions might prove to be friendlier to marine life. In any case, it is definitely an interesting venture but only an idea as of yet. It remains to be seen how it performs on the stage. You can read more about it over at Gizmodo.