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Water Power is the Wave of the Future

  • Jan 17, 2011
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Water TurbinesMan has been using a small percentage of the Earth’s water power for a number of years as many large hydroelectric dams have been constructed. But, this renewable energy resource is only a small fraction of the water power this planet has to offer.

More recently, researchers have been exploring tidal energy, ocean waves and running streams as sources of renewable energy. The Rance estuary in northern France holds the world’s largest tidal power station that generates electricity at regular intervals when the tide comes in or out.

Offshore underwater turbines are also being developed that capitalize on extracting electrical energy from the ocean’s currents. These devices may be setup where the underwater currents are the strongest and generate electricity, which may be stored in batteries or electrolyzed into hydrogen for storage (and run through a fuel cell later) or piped directly onshore, depending upon the distance from the turbines to land.

Companies like Marine Turbines, Swanturbines and Verdant Power are developing these devices. These devices may also be used in large rivers, bays (such as San Francisco Bay) and lakes (such as the Great Lakes).

There is another kind of ocean power device that is also making waves based upon buoys that bob up and down in the ocean and are tethered to underwater generators below. The generators then transmit electricity ashore through a power cable. The PowerBuoy wave generation system from Ocean Power Technologies is one example of this type of renewable energy delivery method.

There is another type of water power in development that harnesses the energy in small streams and rivers to generate electricity. Many large and small developing nations around the world are already using Micro Hydro to create electricity for homes and communities. Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmad Khan has come up with a novel approach for hydro electric power generation.

Of course, there is always geothermal energy, which combines heat and water (steam) to create renewable energy. Just north of San Francisco, near Santa Rosa is the Geysers, which is the largest geothermal field in the nation.

No matter what flavor you choose, water power is here to stay. In fact, many believe that water power offers at least as much hope if not more for a renewable energy future than both solar and wind energy.



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January 18, 2011
After the last scare we have in the ocean by BP, I'd much prefer wind energy. There are just too much life in the ocean (and hence affecting our food chain) and humans have known too little about it to start "innovating" in that arena, as far as I'm concerned.
January 21, 2011
Yes, there is no perfect alt. energy source. With water power, the ocean is a concern. With wind it's birds and noise. In order to overcome the oil monopoly though I think all forms of alt. energy sources will be needed and we'll have to keep a watchdog eye on them to make sure they are environmentally friendly as well.
January 18, 2011
Well that's pretty cool! I've read about water power before a couple of years ago for the first time. The only problem, just like with solar and wind, is overcoming the oil monopoly that would not benefit financially from this - unless the oil companies themselves start investing in this new technology.
January 21, 2011
Yes, the oil monopoly will fight alt energy tooth and nail every step of the way. But there is power in numbers and if enough profitable green companies get on board we can overtake Big Oil eventually.
January 21, 2011
I do hope so! Like you mentioned to Sharrie, all forms of alternative energy need to be harnessed to have any weight against the oil industry.
February 12, 2011
Yes, it's unclear right now whether some of the oil companies will transition to "energy companies" by buying up smaller alt energy startups and gradually make the transition from oil to alt fuels/energy or whether they will go down fighting. I think they will fight until the last drop of oil is out of the ground, but I hope I'm wrong.
February 12, 2011
I hope you're wrong too! :)
About the reviewer
Kevin Green ()
Member Since: Jan 12, 2011
Last Login: Jun 22, 2011 10:40 PM UTC
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Hydropower, hydraulic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of moving water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Prior to the widespread availability of commercial electric power, hydropower was used for irrigation, and operation of various machines, such as watermills, textile machines, sawmills, dock cranes, and domestic lifts.

Another method used a trompe to produce compressed air from falling water, which could then be used to power other machinery at a distance from the water.

In hydrology, hydropower is manifested in the force of the water on the riverbed and banks of a river. It is particularly powerful when the river is in flood. The force of the water results in the removal of sediment and other materials from the riverbed and banks of the river, causing erosion and other alterations.
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