tidal power


Attempts to generate electricity from tidal and river flows has had some success. People that tried to generate electricity from ocean waves have struggled. They may be on the edge of real change and I find that to be exciting.

The promise of ocean wave power has enticed, and eluded, engineers for 40 years

sea change

The promise of ocean wave power has enticed, and eluded, engineers for 40 years

It’s 1974. A man stands on the Scottish coast and stares out to sea. His dark hair is ruffled by the wind, while his mind is fixed on a new, pressing problem: How can all the teeming, crashing power of the ocean be harnessed to produce electricity, in a world that has just discovered it can’t rely on cheap oil forever?

That man, and his colleagues, are still searching for the answer.

For four decades, the problem of how to create an economically viable business producing power from waves has fascinated a specialized group of engineers, many of whom are concentrated around the sea-beaten coast of Scotland. Inventors have created all sorts of strange and wonderful devices to coax energy out of the water; investors have poured millions of pounds into the effort.

The problem is arguably one of the most perplexing in energy production. And maybe, just maybe, the answer is getting closer.

Seeking lovely, smooth lines

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Go there and read. More next week.

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The November issue of National Geographic magazine is totally devoted to Climate Change. Please read the whole thing, but here is as small taste.

 

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/climate-change/germany-renewable-energy-revolution-text

How Do We Fix It?

Germany Could Be a Model for How We’ll Get Power in the Future

The European nation’s energy revolution has made it a leader in replacing nukes and fossil fuels with wind and solar technology.

By Robert Kunzig
Photographs by Luca Locatelli
Published October 15, 2015

Hamburg knew the bombs were coming, and so the prisoners of war and forced laborers had just half a year to build the giant flak bunker. By July 1943 it was finished. A windowless cube of reinforced concrete, with seven-foot-thick walls and an even thicker roof, it towered like a medieval castle above a park near the Elbe River. The guns protruding from its four turrets would sweep Allied bombers from the sky, the Nazis promised, while tens of thousands of citizens sheltered safely behind its impenetrable walls.

Coming in at night from the North Sea just weeks after the bunker was finished, British bombers steered for the spire of St. Nikolai in the center of the city. They dropped clouds of metallic foil strips to throw off German radar and flak gunners. Targeting crowded residential neighborhoods, the bombers ignited an unquenchable firestorm that destroyed half of Hamburg and killed more than 34,000 people. Towering walls of fire created winds so strong that people were blown into the flames. Church bells clanged furiously.

The spire of St. Nikolai, which somehow survived, stands today as a mahnmal—a memorial reminding Germany of the hell brought by the Nazis. The flak bunker is another mahnmal. But now it has a new meaning: An urban development agency (IBA Hamburg) and the municipal utility (Hamburg Energie) have transformed it from a powerful reminder of Germany’s shameful past into a hopeful vision for the future.

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Go there and read 1000 pages. More next week.

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I am not kidding. Can you imagine the impact that a couple of thousand of these power plants could have. Not only that but the highest tidal differences are in the places where the impact of global warming will be the greatest.

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/poetry-in-motion-power-plant-will-use-ocean-tides-to-power-155k-homes/

Poetry in Motion: Power Plant Will Use Ocean Tides to Power 155K Homes

by Terry Turner

This planned power plant in Wales may look like the Guggenheim Museum but its benefits far outweigh the beauty: it will use the rise and fall of ocean tides to generate enough renewable electricity to power 155,000 homes for 120 years.

When completed, the structure will produce electricity enough to displace more than a quarter million barrels of oil each year— while leaving virtually no carbon footprint.

Power plants have been generating electricity using the tides since 1966, but the Swansea project is the first to employ a radically new method of harnessing the natural forces. The secret lies in its nearly six-mile-long barrier wall that will enclose a huge amount of water in an artificial “tidal lagoon”.

The lagoon captures and holds seawater at high tide. As the tide goes out, water in the 4.5 square mile lagoon will be as much as 27 feet higher than the water outside its walls. This tremendous pressure will be routed through 26 turbines, rushing out to sea until the water level equalizes on both sides of the lagoon. At high tide, the flow is reversed, keeping the sea out of the lagoon until it reaches maximum height, then letting the water rush through the turbines again until it fills up the lagoon.

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Go there and read. More next week barely.

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