Science & Technology

Japanese company wants to produce energy from ocean waves

The company states that this method is more efficient than wind and solar energy.

Image credit: Shinbu.

The transition to a carbon-free economy is not an easy task and requires all the energy we can find. Hydropower has traditionally been good, but most are in use.Wind and solar energy Has increased significantly, but has its own drawbacks in terms of availability, capacity, and nuclear power. power At first glance, I have lost my favor. Brock’s new kid may have something to say about it — wave power.

Wave power is different from tidal force, which captures the energy of the electric current generated by the tide. Wave power has been studied since the 1980s, but it is not a widely adopted technology.

In 2000, the world The first such device Deployed in Scotland, the first experimental multi-generator wave farm was opened in 2008 In Portugal..Now a Japanese engineering company IHI I’m in a fight.

IHI has announced a 30-ton prototype capable of producing 100 kW of energy from its rear propeller. The test is scheduled to begin this fall and will last for over a year. If everything goes according to plan, the company will soon commercialize the product.

Finding the right place to deploy your technology is important. This test generator supplies the Kuroshio Current, an ocean current in the Pacific Ocean that rises along the coast of Japan.

“The Kuroshio is one of the strongest currents in the world and a promising source of energy,” said Shigeki Hase, IHI’s development manager, who oversees the project.

The company uses a technology called an underwater floating generator that can be placed anywhere there is sufficient current, both in the river and in the ocean. Of course, river turbines must be much smaller. The Kuroshio is estimated to be packed with about 200 GW of potential energy that can be harvested. Similar generators are embedded on the ocean floor off the coast of Scotland.

According to Senior Researcher Tsunetake Shintake, the impact is “huge.” “Only 1% of the coast of mainland Japan can be used [generate] About 10 gigawatts [of energy]It is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants, “said a press release from Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University.

Turbine support structure is inspired Along Nature, modeling To imitate It is designed not only to withstand the flexibility of flowers, but also to withstand the constant extreme pressure of waves and the potential for tsunamis. Turbines do not oppose them tightly, but the stems of the flowers bend like the wind, says Shintake. They are secured to the seabed with mooring cables.

Image credit: OIST / Shinbu.

Energy isn’t cheap — at least not at first.However, as production expands up As technology matures, prices go down. By 2030, IHI predicts that prices will be lower than the average Japanese. Citizen I’m paying for electricity today.

However, the operational efficiency of ocean current power generation is estimated to be about 50-70%, significantly higher than 30-40% for offshore wind farms or 10-15% for solar power. In other words, IHI has great expectations for the market it is about to create. “We anticipate a business worth hundreds of billions of yen,” says Hase. The company expects to expand to other regions such as the East Coast of the United States and Taiwan.

These turbines have another advantage. It means that it can be protected from coastal erosion. In an ideal setting, the turbine is planted between coral reefs with a pyramidal cement structure that breaks the waves and reduces the erosion caused by the waves.

Shinbu envisions a future in which technology will become widespread and become commonplace. It’s still in its infancy so far, but “normal” wind turbines were once in the early stages.

“I imagine a planet 200 years from now,” he said. “I hope these [turbines] You will work quietly, well and hard at each beach where they are located. “

Japanese company wants to produce energy from ocean waves Japanese company wants to produce energy from ocean waves

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