Sunday, February 23, 2014

Five Striking Concepts for Harnessing the Sea's Power

A mechanical "carpet" along the seafloor, shown in this illustration from University of California, Berkeley, is designed to absorb wave energy and convert it to electricity. The concept is just one of many being tested to capture the ocean's energy. (Credit: Theoretical and Applied Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the University of California) Click to enlarge.
The constantly churning oceans that cover most of the Earth offer an inexhaustible source of clean energy.  The amount of recoverable energy embedded along the continental shelf of the United States, for example, amounts to almost a third of all the electricity the country uses in one year, according to estimates from the Electric Power Research Institute,

"It's emission-free power and it's located close to where most of the population lives," said Sean O'Neill, president of the Gaithersburg, M-based Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC).

But the process of harnessing all of that energy, still in its infancy, isn't an easy one.  "At this stage, putting equipment in the sea and getting it to work reliably, consistently, during severe storms, is a huge challenge," said Aquamarine Power CEO Martin McAdam. "If anyone tells you otherwise, they haven't done it yet."

Five Striking Concepts for Harnessing the Sea's Power

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