Japan just figured out how to generate endless energy from the ocean. A fundamental understanding of atoms is useful in understanding electricity. The cosmos is made up of atoms. Atoms make up everything in the cosmos, including stars, trees, and animals.
There are atoms in every cell of the human body. Atoms are also found in the air and water. One million atoms fit on the head of a pin since they’re so tiny.
The ocean is one of the most powerful sources of energy. You can’t find a source of power quite like this anywhere else. Engineers in Japan have made a machine the size of a Leviathan. This machine that can stand up to even the strongest ocean currents.
Japan just figured out how to generate endless energy from the ocean
The goal is to use the energy of the ocean and turn it into a nearly endless source of power. Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries, which is now called IHI Corporation, has been testing the technology for more than a decade.
In 2017, they worked with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) to improve it. In February, a three-and-a-half-year field test off the coast of Japan’s southwest coast was successfully finished. This was a big step forward for the project.
It is dubbed Kairyu, which roughly translates to “ocean current,” and is a 330-ton prototype. Each of the two large cylinders that make up the fuselage is flanked on each side. This is by an 11-meter-long turbine blade that generates power for both cylinders.
Using an anchor line and power cables that are connected to an underwater platform, power can be made from deep-water currents and sent into a grid.
A large portion of Japan’s energy needs are met by importing fossil fuels from other countries. Japan’s technical strength is being put to use to take advantage of renewable energy sources in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
Wind turbine woods and solar panel fields
Wind turbine woods and solar panel fields are not feasible in Japan’s hilly archipelago. There are also less opportunities for energy commerce to offset swings in renewables due to the location’s distance from neighboring nations. The country does have a lot of coastline, which is a plus. As the North Pacific gyre sweeps east, the ocean churns and churns.
The Kuroshio current is formed where the gyre hits Japan and is a reasonably powerful flow. According to IHI, harnessing the current’s energy could potentially create 205 gigawatts of electricity, which is comparable to the country’s current electrical production capacity.
Because of the ocean’s chaotic motions, it is difficult to harness as a source of electricity. Typhoons may cause quick damage to power plants near the surface, where the water moves the quickest. The turbines aboard Kairyu are driven by the drag caused when the ship floats towards the surface of the waves, around 50 meters below the water’s surface.
To maintain the device’s stability, each of the blades spins in the opposite direction to the others. Kairyu can generate 100 kW of electricity at a flow rate of one to two meters per second (about one to two knots).
It may seem little in comparison to the 3.6 megawatts of an average offshore wind turbine. On the other hand, Kairyu has shown that it can resist the wrath of nature and might soon have a 20-meter-long turbine that generates 2 megawatts.
If all goes according to plan, we may witness a farm of power producers supplying energy to the grid. We’ll have to wait and see whether Kairyu can handle the increased workload.
Attempts to harness the power of the ocean’s tides, waves, and currents have often failed, despite the widespread interest in this comparatively underutilized source of renewable energy.
There are many problems to solve, such as high technical costs, environmental restrictions, and the fact that coastal communities are close to the power grid. If IHI Corp. is able to solve these problems, ocean power could provide anywhere from 40% to 70% of Japan’s energy needs.
Because of advances in materials science and a better understanding of the marine environment, someone will eventually figure out how to use the huge amount of energy in the ocean.
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