Water, water, everywhere, but hardly a drop moving fast enough to produce electricity?
Existing technologies that harness energy from water can only operate if the current is moving at five or six knots, but most of the world's currents are slower than three knots. Good news! A new cylinder device is able to produce power from a current flowing at less than one knot.
University of Michigan scientists were inspired by the way fish swim to create the cylinder system called Vivace. Water flows around the cylinders creating vortices, which push and pull the cylinders up and down. This energy is then converted into electricity.
The scientists believe that groups of cylinders could be placed in river or sea beds or suspended in the ocean. A field of cylinders covering an area 1km by 1.5km with a current of three knots could power 100,000 homes. Scientists say the technology requires 50 percent less ocean acreage than wave power.
The researchers also say that because the parts move slowly, they are less likely to harm aquatic life than dams or turbines, and their position underwater will keep them from interfering with shipping or being an eyesore.
A prototype is currently being tested in the Detroit River, which has a current of less than two knots. If this technology is successful, it could open up most of the world's water to power generation, which could result in huge gains towards powering the world on renewable energy.
via Daily Telegraph
|< Prev||Next >|