Ocean currents are a very promising-looking source of renewable energy, but the technology for capturing ocean current energy and using it to create electricity hasn’t matured yet. However, that may soon change — a new ocean current harnessing system capable of working in deep waters has been developed by researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and a prototype has already been successfully tested.
The new experimental prototype — created within the framework of the PROCODAC-GESMEY project — has successfully met the goals of the researchers: it’s cheaper to construct, install, and maintain than current designs; it can produce the expected amount of energy; it can be maneuvered by remote control; it can operate in relatively deep waters; and it’s affordable enough for “a medium sized shipyard” to purchase, as the researchers put it.
The prototype — created in collaboration with the Astilleros Balenciaga company and the Fundación Centro Tecnológico Soermar — is one-tenth the size that a potential “industrial size” 1MW unit would be. The prototype is also accompanied by a newly designed underwater buoy capable of operating in areas of 40 meters of depth.
The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid explains the new design:
The researchers will next be working on the creation of a larger prototype with potential performance improvements.
While this new prototype/research is focused entirely upon harnessing the energy of ocean currents, there are actually quite a few ways to harness the incredible and renewable power of the ocean — waves, tides, salinity, temperatures, etc. It’s been estimated that as an energy resource, the world’s oceans could easily supply all of the energy currently used by humans many times over. Just something to keep in mind….
The new design is patented/patent pending, and the co-owner is the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid within a Framework Agreement signed between UPM and Soermar.
Source : cleantechnica