Ocean currentsPart of what makes renewable energy sources so intriguing is the aspect of human creativity to harness energy in ways never previous conceived. At one point, some person had to feel the wind in their face and imagine the possibilities of turning that into power. Likewise, someone felt the heat of the sun and began thinking of how the brightest star in Earth’s sky could be harnessed for energy gains.

People have seen that same kind of potential in another constant in this world with the power of ocean currents waiting to be harnessed. And recently a promising new system has been developed that looks to potentially be the next step forward in making this energy source viable on a large scale.

Check out a couple excerpts below from an article that details this recent development…

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 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid explains the new design:

“Today, to harness energy is an issue of interest, particularly those related to sea. The first generation of systems of harnessing energy from ocean currents was only feasible in areas of maximum depth of 30-50 meters (because the generators were joined at the bottom) and its maintenance was expensive. Consequently, second-generation systems came out: anchoring systems with diverse solutions that allow us a submerged operation with the possibility to put afloat the main elements for its maintenance. The tested prototype of the GESMEY project belongs to these second-generation systems.

The main unit of the prototype includes, as we can see on the image, a structure of stainless steel with a central body and three peripheral parts joined by arms. The generator, the multiplier, and the instrumentation system are inside while the rotor that captures ocean currents is outside.”


To read a bit more about this development in harnessing ocean currents and what it could mean for clean energy sources, check out the full article here: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/04/ocean-current-energy/