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View Diary: Should Maine lead the Nation in Tidal Power (46 comments)

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  •  You put screens on the intake-- (1+ / 0-)
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    Spud1

    your problem is not with large fish, but with small fry, krill, plankton & such.  People do this with salt water intakes on power plants running turbines adjacent to salt water very successfully.

    However, more important:

    Salt water is corrosive.  Very corrosive.  
    http://www.eng-tips.com/...

    Even if cement is part of your structure, you have trouble with the rebar. Stainless degrades.  You get galvanic corrosion as well as just normal chemical corrosion. As you are generating electricity, you will have particular maintenance problems avoiding electrical potential differences between various parts of your structure. The above forum gives you the flavor of the problems with salt water corrosion.

    Various versions of the Passamaquoddy Project dated back to 1935 and FDR--long before Johnson or nuclear power for that matter.  We have better tech now, I would assume, but tidal turbines are not a gimme--river turbines, as the Swiss use, are a much better deal since rivers aren't intermittent, as is the tide.  Yes, tides are predictable, but they cycle through the days at different times.  Here's a Bay of Fundy time table for Hopewell Rocks:

    http://www.thehopewellrocks.ca/...

    Velocity of flow varies continously with slack periods between flows.  And the height of the tide varies with the phase of the moon, etc.

    So tidal energy despite being predictable, would rank among peaking power applications (replaces natural gas, not coal) unless some energy storage was built as part of the plant so that continuous power could be produced and delivered to the grid. (With all that water, I would think that pumping it up and releasing it to run the turbines might work nicely).

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