Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies. Fascinating ... exciting ... even hope inspiring at times. And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are truly 'Energy Cool'.
We are cursed to "live in interesting times ..." We live with the realities of Peak Oil ... of Global Warming ... And we live in the shadow of amazing technological developments that offer the opportunities to provide Silver Buckshot Pellets and Silver BBs to help surmount these challenges ...
Potential Pellets and BBs from Algae BioDiesel to Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles to Concentrating Solar Power to LED lighting advances are emerging from the shadows literally every day. One of the least heralded, to date, of opportunities and one that might be on the edge of breaking out comes from the seas.
Thus, to fight the inexorably mounting tides of Global Warming we might find hope in turning our eyes (and our investment) to the sea ...
NOTE Please consider dropping in on the more important discussion Why Energize America?
That proverbial Chinese curse, with a menacing tone, threatens: May you live in interesting times.
We do ... We live under spectre of September 11th ... We have a political system under threat and the potential to turn the tide ... We live with the reality of Global Warming and the every-mounting human emissions accelerating that warming ... And, well, we live in a time of incredible ingenuity and opportunity for real, positive advances.
We are seeing these emerging, literally daily, in energy efficiency and in renewable energy. One of the least heralded, to date, of opportunities and one that might be on the edge of breaking out comes from the seas.
Thus, to fight the inexorably mounting tides of Global Warming we might fight hope in turning our eyes (and our investment) to the sea ...
Ocean power is not new. The French have been generating tidal power over three decades at Rance, with an "annual output [of] about 600 million kWh, or about 68MW average power."
Thus, ocean power is not new ... humanity has known the power of the seas for millenia ... but, the imperative to capture that power is upon us and the ability to do so is increasing.
successfully completed a major milestone ... deployment and commissioning of the AquaBuOY 2.0 wave energy converter [2.5 miles] off the coast of Newport, Oregon. ... first installation of a wave energy converter of this scale off the west coast of North America ... goal of commercial electricity generation from ocean waves by 2010.
Now the solar and wind are not meant for commercial power generation but for helping to power the diagnostic equipment. "This test data will be used for the next design iteration of the wave energy converter, with an anticipated deployment in 2008."
The Company is advancing along its project development plan with the phased installation of a multi-device wave park and commercial electricity generation by 2010. The Company currently has wave energy projects totaling more than 250 megawatts (MW) planned or under development on the west coast of North America.
250 MW doesn't eliminate coal-fired electricity ... actually, it is just half of one typical coal plant. But, 250 MW from the sea from just one technology planned, a technology that is still in R&D.
And, well, it is a technology that is getting some attention ... such as Beyond Wind and Solar in The Washington Post at the beginning of the month.
Finavera's chief executive, Jason Bak, believes he knows how. The equipment his company designed, called AquaBuOY, aims to generate electricity from the vertical motion of waves. The buoy, anchored in an array two to three miles offshore, will convert the waves' motion into pressurized water using large, reinforced-rubber hose pumps. As the buoy goes up the peak of a wave and down into its trough, it forces a piston in the bottom of the buoy to stretch and contract the hose pumps, pushing water through. This drives a turbine that powers a generator producing electricity, which would be shipped to shore through an undersea transmission line.
"This is the new source of power," Bak said. "It's the highest-energy-density renewable out there. Wind is like light crude oil, and water is like gasoline."
"The new source of power ..." Perhaps ... Perhaps not ... We need to keep a rational perspective about this and not jump off the deep end. But, how about a Silver Buckshot Pellet, perhaps even a Silver BB, in our fight to kill the inexorable growth of GHG emissions ...
And, well, the Aquo Buoy is far from alone in the water. There are many other wave/tidal/ocean electrical generation systems developing ...
- Pelamis Wave Power is a snake-like system (picture above), moving from test-level to commercial-level production off the Iberian Peninsula and in the UK.
- Verdant Power's systems powering up Manhattan. (Latest report that I've seen is that all six turbines are broken and Verdant is repairing/rebuilding them.)
- Ocean Power Technologies is another bouy power system. OPT has projects in Hawaii (producing power), Spain, with a test buoy (pictured) off New Jersey.
And, well, the list is long ... The wonderful thing ... there are a lot of developments. It seems that wave, tidal, ocean power is on the cusp of major breakthroughs. A couple great resources for more about ocean/wave power:
What is exciting to see is so many positive developments across so many fronts. Wind ... solar ... geothermal ... energy efficiency ... ocean power. Every day there is more out there that is, well, that is Energy COOL!
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- Hat tip to EcoGeek for the find re Aquo Buoy.
- Related item, with photo, posted at Energy Smart.
- Consider joining the new, improved Daily Kos Environmentalists community / listserve.
- Energy Cool discussions include: urban bike programs; energy efficient public housing; finding out just how easy it is to cook with the sun; rooftop Concentrating Solar Power; and, commercial scale solar power. These discussions are intended to provide an environment to discuss exciting energy developments, to share views about strengths/weaknesses, and share learning with each other.