Ocean Wave Energy Pros And Cons

Friday, February 11, 2022 7:21:08 PM

Ocean Wave Energy Pros And Cons

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Why Can't We Get Power From Waves?

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Unlike non-renewable alternatives such as coal, oil, and natural gas , we can always rely on the tides as a source of energy. The sustainable nature of tidal energy makes it a wise investment in helping to meet future energy requirements. The tides run like clockwork. We can rely on them to rise and fall throughout the course of the day. This makes tidal energy a very reliable and predictable energy source. It is even more predictable than wind and solar energy.

Tidal energy is extremely efficient. Water has a density of around times greater than that of air. This allows tidal turbines to be effective at low water speeds, unlike wind turbines which require significant wind speeds. Ignoring construction costs, tidal power plants have very low running costs. Tidal turbines require infrequent maintenance, as do tidal barrages. Whilst maintenance can be an expensive process, there is usually a large gap between maintenance intervals. A tidal barrage involves the construction of a dam-like wall to hold back seawater. Structures like these can be used for other purposes.

For example, a barrage can be used as a road or footbridge, avoiding the need to build a separate structure. Tidal barrages can even double up as a flood barrier to help protect inland areas from flooding. One of the bad things about tidal energy is that tidal barrages have a number of environmental effects. Many of these are similar to the environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams. Just like wind turbines kill birds, tidal turbines have the potential to harm marine life. Whilst tidal turbines spin much slower than wind turbines, they can still post a threat to fish and other marine life.

Tidal barrages have similar disadvantages to hydroelectric dams. One of these is that they can disrupt the migratory pattern of fish and other marine life. Some marine fish make their way up estuaries to spawn. Some species of fish living in estuaries migrate in the opposite direction to the sea in order to spawn. Both tidal turbines and tidal barrages can restrict access to open waters.

This can have an effect on those who rely on unrestricted access to the sea. Fishermen, transport companies, and recreational sea goers are all affected by the presence of tidal energy plants. Some species of marine life can also be affected, especially where tidal barrages are concerned. Coastal areas experience two high and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes a lunar day. With the tides being intermittent, tidal turbines are unable to operate 24 hours a day.

It does, however, take six hours and Whilst tidal turbines are only viable during part of this cycle, there is still a lengthy window where they can operate. It is here where tidal barrages have a huge advantage over coastal tidal turbines. Barrages hold back water, acting in a similar way to that of a hydroelectric dam. Engineers can then release this water on demand to generate power as and when it is needed.

Tidal energy is one of the most location-specific renewable energy sources. Pelamis Wave Power have designed a floating system consisting of five tube sections, linked by universal joints, which flex in two directions and face the onrushing waves. M3 Wave's submerged DMP device converts wave pressure into electricity from a fixed position on the sea floor. Put simply, a wave passes over the structure, raising the pressure and forcing air through an air turbine into an air chamber. That air movement causes a turbine to spin, which in turn drives an electrical generator and hey presto — electricity.

The U. Meanwhile, the U. Department of Energy, estimates that enough electricity to feed a quarter of all U. It will come as no surprise that money is the main impediment threatening to sink ambitions. Whilst the emerging players perfect the technology thanks to piecemeal government funding, it won't be until major renewables manufacturers — like Siemens and General Electric — wade into the fray that the technology will roll out en masse. Slowly but surely small-scale wave farms are beginning to take float. Jason Busch, executive director of non-profit group Oregon Wave Energy Trust senses that the tide is beginning to turn in favour of wave power.

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