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Wave/tidal energy

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Energy Effciency/savings

Wave/tidal energy

Geothermal energy

Solar Thermal Energy

Photovoltaics

Biofuel

Biomass

Hydro-Power

Wind Energy

The motions in world’s oceans contain amounts of energy that dwarf our global energy consumption. Technologies are now emerging to harness two forms of these vast energy resources: the energy of the waves and the energy of the tides.

The potential contribution of wave energy to the global electricity market is estimated to be on the order of 2000 TWh annually, approximately 10% of the world electricity consumption. The tidal energy potential available in comparatively shallow waters is estimated to be on the order of 3800 TWh annually. [1]

Wave_energy

There is active research and development work on ocean energy exploitation in several countries around the world. As yet ocean energy conversion technologies have not progressed to the point of massive power generation due in part to the often rough and unpredictable conditions under which these technologies have to operate. However, recent advances have finally brought the technologies close to commercialization.

There are various technologies that aim at harnessing the oscillating motions of waves in energy production. These include techniques for exploiting the alternating flow of water, changes in air pressure, or movements of mechanical devices. Due to high wave activity, the western European coast is particularly well suited for wave energy.

Tidal energy is more predictable than wave energy as tides follow regular periods of about 12 hours. In coastal areas, where tides pass through straits and shallows, very high flow velocities can occur. In Europe particularly intense currents are found around the British Isles and Ireland, between the Channel Islands and France, in the Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily, and around the islands of the Aegean Sea. [2]

Harnessing tidal currents usually involves technologies similar to those used for wind energy conversion, that is horizontal and vertical axis turbines. In many cases tidal flows can be intensified with barrages or dams. Because the density of water is some 850 times higher than that of air, the power intensity in water currents is significantly higher than that in airflows. Consequently, a water turbine can be built considerably smaller than a wind turbine.

The progress in these forms of ocean energy has in the past years been considerable. Many of the techniques in being tested now are predicted to become economically viable in the near future. [3]

 

Footnotes

[1] Lemonis, G.: “Wave and Tidal Energy Conversion” in Encyclopedia of Energy. Elsevier, 2004.

[2] Lemonis, G.: “Wave and Tidal Energy Conversion” in Encyclopedia of Energy. Elsevier, 2004.

[3] Lemonis, G.: “Wave and Tidal Energy Conversion” in Encyclopedia of Energy. Elsevier, 2004.

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