I am very much an advocate of ocean-based energy. As I indicated in March, 2007, in An Open Letter to the President and Congress: Ocean Energy is Vital in Our Battle Against Global Warming, a letter I hand-delivered to Washington, D.C.,
More than any other program America could implement, more than anything else America could do, ocean energy represents a tipping point in the full-scale frontal assault against global warming. By turning to clean ocean power, it is possible to freeze CO2 emissions, to curtail and eventually put a stop to the current exploitation of fossil fuels, to eliminate our country’s dependence on foreign oil, to scale down America’s gas and coal-fired electrical plants–and to eventually see these 19th century-based facilities razed. But, most importantly, in doing these things, it’s entirely possible to help turn the tide on climate change. It will not be easy–nothing worthwhile is easy–but transforming the energy matrix is something we can, and should, do. The most practical way to accomplish all these things is to turn to the ocean. [p. 6]
The ocean makes up 73% of the surface of the planet. At this critical moment in the evolution of our country, and our world, I absolutely know in my heart that ocean energy is precisely the correct path our nation should follow.
The one major problem I see, however, is this: It’s been only 10,000 years since man (sic) abandoned the cave, the arrival of the liquid propane gas grill and the tailgate party each assuredly contributing to its sad demise. Are the American people – and their elected representatives in particular – sufficiently prepared for anything other than combustion? Honestly now, are we?
Combustion has played an absolutely huge and pivotal role in the development of the United States of America. From the very moment the first caveperson gazed longingly into a campfire to the present, ours has been one amazing, and lengthy love affair with combustion. People love burning things down and, perhaps even more, combusting things up…into the atmosphere. More than anyone else on the face of the planet—the Chinese in recent years the solitary exception—we Americans are absolutely enthralled with burning anything and everything we can get our hands on.
Do you honestly believe Americans are ready for a form of energy the production of which will not require us to combust gasoline, combust coal, combust oil, combust natural gas, combust ethanol, combust biofuel, combust vegetable oil or combust uranium to produce? C’mon now, do you?
Are we in United States prepared for alternative energy technologies that are non-combustible? I doubt it. And yet, reliable sources affirm that energy from the ocean is achieved, generated, produced, harvested (pick your verb) without having to combust anything. Without spewing ton after ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Without leaking poisonous lead, sulfur or mercury into our rivers and streams. Without creating lethal pools of toxic coal ash.
For the most part, it is combustion of fossil fuels (gasoline, oil, etc.) that fuels American transportation (autos, planes, trains, trucks) and combustion of fossil fuels that fuels the massive power plants that generate the electricity that then is supplied, via the electric grid, to our business establishments and our homes. How exactly, absent all the present combustion, can we hope as a people to survive? Our very way of life is in jeopardy.
Here we have all these upstart, smart aleck scientists and engineers telling us that all the energy we need can be generated without any manner of combustion. Shoot. Like my old friend, Vern says, “It just don’t seem right.”
No combustion? I’m sorry, but. . . it just don’t seem right.
Alternative energy? Ocean-based energy? Forget it. Does anyone seriously expect Americans to embrace an energy future that is so patently barren of combustion, and, um, so…bleak?
– Frank Trujillo
(Tongue firmly in cheek.)
Copyright © 2009 Frank Trujillo
* Until very recently in our history, until 2005 or so, the United States led the world in fossil fuel emissions. Today, that distinction belongs to China.
Not to be confused with the Gulf Stream, the Florida Current is a thermal ocean current that flows generally from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
Suppose, in order to harness its power, XYZ Technology™ installs 100 (one hundred) 300 kw (kilowatt) turbines on the ocean floor ten miles off the Florida coast. In doing so, the aforementioned utility is able to satisfy the total electric requirement of, say, 500,000 homes.
My question for you is this: Does the placement of those 100 turbines affect, to any significant degree, the “flow” of the Florida Current? Do the turbines, for example, stop the flow? Don’t be silly. Of course not. Will 100 turbines in any way diminish the flow? No. The Florida Current, unabated, a thousand times mightier than the Mississippi, will just keep right on “flowing” along! Continue reading »
Amid claims that it is the largest ocean turbine installation to date, U.K.-based Marine Current Turbines (MCT) has placed a 300-kilowatt (kW) turbine three kilometers off of the English coast.
With backing from stakeholders that include the U.K. and German governments, the European Commission’s Joule Program and a consortium of U.K. and German industrial companies, the so-called Seaflow project cost approximately U.S. $3.5 million. The project aims to test and perfect the turbine during the next three years, according to a June 30 article at SolarAccess.com. Continue reading »
* o·cean en·er·gy
(ō-shen en-er-ji) n., pl. –gies.
1. energy derived in any manner from the vast body of salt water covering approximately 73 percent of the earth’s surface. 2. any persistently renewable source of energy or power (electrical, etc.) derived from the sea, including power from the harnessing of ocean currents, Biomass energy, ocean solar power, wave power, off-shore wind power, ocean geothermal, etc. 3. a science and a technology in process of development; includes a full range of ocean-based renewable energy alternatives, many of which remain to be conceived and explored.
Today, Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, as millions of Americans and others throughout the world celebrate the inauguration of our Nation’s first African American president, I come away with a renewed sense of optimism, and hope.
There is a renewed excitement today on a great variety of fronts, not the least of which relates to energy and the environment. Ocean-based energy has a better chance than ever to ignite and inspire the collective imagination of our people. The 110th Congress may well have failed to take action, but the 111th just might! Our country’s 43rd President may have done nothing, but this new 44th President of the United States—this upstart “Yes We Can!” President, President Barack Obama—might just take a swing at it. He might just knock it right out of the ballpark! Continue reading »
It’s easy to track the tidal movements of the ocean by looking at waves, but all of that energy is moved around under the surface of the water as well. Florida Atlantic University’s Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology hopes to harness these underwater currents by placing 100-foot-in-diameter 20 kilowatt turbines that are anchored to the ocean floor along the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic. The system would be hooked up to floating generators and monitored by solar powered control buoys and small naval vessels. Continue reading »
One the world’s greatest untapped energy resources is the motion of the ocean. Of course, while floating wind turbines and wave-powered generators are being explored and researched, underwater ocean currents remains an area that is largely untapped.
Now researchers at the Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology have developed a technology that would allow them to tap the Gulf Stream currents. This they believe would be able to cover all of Florida’s energy needs. These scientists are truly working hard to transform the vision from science fiction to reality. Continue reading »
In 2007/2008, OSU, in collaboration with Columbia Power Technologies (CPT) and the U.S. Navy, evaluated 18 different direct-drive technologies, and down-selected to five promising designs. OSU and CPT built each of those prototypes at the 200W peak level and tested them on OSU’s new wave energy linear test bed. OSU and CPT also comprehensively simulated each of the designs, and scaled the simulations up to 100kW, including full 100kW designs with costs, maintenance, operations etc., to give estimates for total costs of energy for each. Continue reading »
Global Ocean Wind Energy Potential Wind energy has the potential to provide 10 to 15 percent of the world’s future energy, according to Paul Dimotakis, chief technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Once windmills are installed, wind can be converted to electricity inexpensively. But not everyone likes wind farms. The giant collection of whirling blades mars scenic views and can kill birds and bats, particularly if located in a high-traffic flyway. To minimize these risks, one solution may be to place wind farms in the ocean. Wind tends to blow stronger over the ocean than over land. The ocean presents a smooth surface over which wind can glide without interruption, while hills, mountains, and forests tend to slow or channel wind over land.
Read the entire article from the National Space Agancy of Ukraine