In another renewable energy push following the growth of wind and solar power, scientists are devising a methodology to use energy from marine tidal currents located in great depths.
The participants in the Technological Research Group in Marine Renewable Energy (GITERM) at Madrid’s Universidad Politecnica de Madrid developed a way to assess life-cycle cost of a power generation park that tackles the problems of harnessing energy from deepwater sources.
Several difficulties arise including the high costs of manufacturing, installation and maintenance. Europe and Canada are working on the first generation experimental parks based on devices located on the seabed. A researcher at GITERM talks about the goal of fighting against climate change by lowering production cost of the energy, and creating a renewable energy source that is financially and technically competitive.
Scientists estimate that 80% of tidal energy is located in water 40 meters or more in depth. At these levels it is expensive to install the large first generation structures held to the seabed. After this, second generation structures consisting of cables and anchors are deployed.
Analysis of the work produced so far enabled researched to evolve from generators with large rotors (similar to wind generators) to generators with several rotors that reduce estimated cost of energy by 30 percent.
Marine energy studies are clearly a work-in-progress with researchers looking for the lowest cost, most effective design. Moreover, the study of this renewable energy source has the value-added component of providing job creation and economic growth in coastal regions of the world
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