Jul 30, 2014

Ocean Power the Ultimate Source of Energy

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Wave energy is truely a renewable energyWater is a perpetual force that gives life to this planet. With most of the earth covered by oceans, this seemingly endless power can be harnessed as a clean and renewable energy source. Science has developed multiple methods to utilize the ocean’s power. They include wave energy, tidal energy and thermal energy conversion.


What is Ocean Power?


Wave energy utilizes the movement of the waves in order to generate electricity. The up and down movement of the ocean is harnessed to produce power. Another way of utilizing the ocean’s waves is by focusing the waves into a narrowing channel, the resulting concentrated power is then used to rotate turbines and generate electricity.


Tidal energy is another source of ocean power. Its discovery dates back to 787 AD which makes it one of the oldest forms of renewable energy. When the water level changes between high and low tides, the ebb and flow motion of the ocean waves can be captured and utilized to produce electricity. The most classic systems are tidal turbines which are placed in areas with strong tidal flows. This method is similar to the wind turbines currently in use all over the world.


The ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) often works in tropical regions where there could be a significant difference between the deep temperatures and the surface temperatures. The temperature difference between the two is used as a source of energy. Although Hawaii has experimented with this system, since the systems are not very energy efficient, the viability of implementing it on a large-scale basis has not yet risen.


Energy Used


It is estimated that the coasts of the United States can bring 252 billion kilowatt-hours a year by utilizing wave energy alone. This would cover nearly 7% of the total electricity consumption of the US, decreasing the amount of non-renewable fossil fuels currently being used to generate electricity.


Cost


The cost of electricity generated by ocean power is primarily dependent on the construction. In tidal energy, the technology is well developed, but the hydroelectric generating equipment along with the barrage may take as many as 10 years to construct and is quite expensive. In addition, damming an estuary or bay and changing the tidal flows could create a negative impact on the marine life, shoreline ecosystem, and navigational or recreational activities.


Benefits


Ocean power is a truly a renewable energy. With over 70% of the earth being covered by ocean, it stands to be a significant and powerful source of energy. Modern science has developed many eco friendly ways to harness this power. Any new solution will inevitably present potential issues. Therefore we must continue to learn how to harness clean renewable energies, like ocean power, without sacrificing its inhabitants in the process.





(2010) Tidal Power. Retrieved August 23, 2010.

(2010) Tidal Energy. Retrieved August 23, 2010.

(2010) Waves Have Lots of Energy. Retrieved August 23, 2010.

(2010) Image by Evgeni-Dinev



1 Comment

  • Comment Link Angie King Wednesday, 09 March 2011 10:12 posted by Angie King

    Ocean power makes perfect sense with how much ocean is on this planet. I know that Hawaii is currently conducting research on ocean power developing new technologies. Unfortunately, cost is a real hurdle, one that cannot be overlooked.

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