• 7 hours Iraq Begins To Rebuild Largest Refinery
  • 11 hours Canadian Producers Struggle To Find Transport Oil Cargo
  • 13 hours Venezuela’s PDVSA Makes $539M Interest Payments On Bonds
  • 15 hours China's CNPC Considers Taking Over South Pars Gas Field
  • 16 hours BP To Invest $200 Million In Solar
  • 17 hours Tesla Opens New Showroom In NYC
  • 18 hours Petrobras CEO Hints At New Partner In Oil-Rich Campos Basin
  • 20 hours Venezuela Sells Oil Refinery Stake To Cuba
  • 1 day Tesla Is “Headed For A Brick Wall”
  • 1 day Norwegian Pension Fund Set to Divest From Oil Sands and Coal Ventures
  • 1 day IEA: “2018 Might Not Be Quite So Happy For OPEC Producers”
  • 2 days Goldman Bullish On Oil Markets
  • 2 days OPEC Member Nigeria To Issue Africa’s First Sovereign Green Bond
  • 2 days Nigeria To Spend $1B Of Oil Money Fighting Boko Haram
  • 2 days Syria Aims To Begin Offshore Gas Exploration In 2019
  • 2 days Australian Watchdog Blocks BP Fuel Station Acquisition
  • 2 days Colombia Boosts Oil & Gas Investment
  • 2 days Environmentalists Rev Up Anti-Keystone XL Angst Amongst Landowners
  • 2 days Venezuelan Default Swap Bonds At 19.25 Cents On The Dollar
  • 3 days Aramco On The Hunt For IPO Global Coordinators
  • 3 days ADNOC Distribution Jumps 16% At Market Debut In UAE
  • 3 days India Feels the Pinch As Oil Prices Rise
  • 3 days Aramco Announces $40 Billion Investment Program
  • 3 days Top Insurer Axa To Exit Oil Sands
  • 4 days API Reports Huge Crude Draw
  • 4 days Venezuela “Can’t Even Write A Check For $21.5M Dollars.”
  • 4 days EIA Lowers 2018 Oil Demand Growth Estimates By 40,000 Bpd
  • 4 days Trump Set To Open Atlantic Coast To Oil, Gas Drilling
  • 4 days Norway’s Oil And Gas Investment To Drop For Fourth Consecutive Year
  • 4 days Saudis Plan To Hike Gasoline Prices By 80% In January
  • 4 days Exxon To Start Reporting On Climate Change Effect
  • 4 days US Geological Survey To Reevaluate Bakken Oil Reserves
  • 4 days Brazil Cuts Local Content Requirements to Attract Oil Investors
  • 5 days Forties Pipeline Could Remain Shuttered For Weeks
  • 5 days Desjardins Ends Energy Loan Moratorium
  • 5 days ADNOC Distribution IPO Valuation Could Be Lesson For Aramco
  • 5 days Russia May Turn To Cryptocurrencies For Oil Trade
  • 5 days Iraq-Iran Oil Swap Deal To Run For 1 Year
  • 7 days Venezuelan Crude Exports To U.S. Fall To 15-year Lows
  • 7 days Mexico Blames Brazil For Failing Auction

Breaking News:

Iraq Begins To Rebuild Largest Refinery

Alt Text

The Stunning Energy Cost Of Tesla’s Semi-Truck

Tesla’s electric trucks could require…

Alt Text

China Launches World’s First All-Electric Cargo Ship

A Chinese shipbuilder has just…

Alt Text

The Electric Truck Revolution Is About To Accelerate

Cargo transport companies have begun…

Brian Westenhaus

Brian Westenhaus

Brian is the editor of the popular energy technology site New Energy and Fuel. The site’s mission is to inform, stimulate, amuse and abuse the…

More Info

Submerged Turbines Could Replace 10 Nuclear Reactors In Japan

Ocean

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) researchers have developed turbines to convert the power of ocean waves into clean, renewable energy.

Professor Shintake and the Quantum Wave Microscopy Unit at OIST began by starting a project titled “Sea Horse,” aiming to harness energy from the Kuroshio ocean current that flows from the eastern coast of Taiwan and around the southern parts of Japan.

That project used submerged turbines anchored to the sea floor through mooring cables that convert the kinetic energy of sustained natural currents in the Kuroshio into usable electricity, which is then delivered by cables to the land. The initial phase of the project was successful, and the Unit is now searching for industry partners to continue into the next phase. But the OIST researchers also desired an ocean energy source that was cheaper and easier to maintain.

This is where the vigor of the ocean’s waves at the shoreline comes into play.

The blades of this five-blade turbine are made of a soft material and they rotate on their axis when influenced by ocean waves – the diameter of the turbine is about 0.7 meters. The axis is attached to a permanent magnet electric generator, which is the part of the turbine that transforms the ocean wave energy into usable electricity. The ceramic mechanical seal protects the electrical components inside of the body from any saltwater leakage. This design allows the turbine to function for ten years before it need replacing. Image Credit: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Quantum Wave Microscopy Unit. Click image for the largest view.

Shintake explained, “Particularly in Japan, if you go around the beach you’ll find many tetrapods,” Tetrapods are concrete structures shaped somewhat like pyramids that are often placed along a coastline to weaken the force of incoming waves and protect the shore from erosion. Similarly, wave breakers are walls built in front of beaches for the same purpose. “Surprisingly, 30 percent of the seashore in mainland Japan is covered with tetrapods and wave breakers,” he said. Replacing these with “intelligent” tetrapods and wave breakers, Shintake explained, with turbines attached to or near them, would both generate energy as well as help to protect the coasts.

Professor Shintake pointed out, “Using just 1 percent of the seashore of mainland Japan can [generate] about 10 gigawats [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants. That’s huge.”

In order to tackle this idea, the OIST researchers launched The Wave Energy Converter (WEC) project in 2013. WEC involves placing turbines at key locations near the shoreline, such as nearby tetrapods or among coral reefs, to generate energy. Each location allows the turbines to be exposed to ideal wave conditions that allow them not only to generate clean and renewable energy, but also to help protect the coasts from erosion while being affordable for those with limited funding and infrastructure.

Related: The Next Big Offshore Boom Is About To Happen Here

The turbines themselves are built to withstand the forces thrust upon them during harsh wave conditions as well as extreme weather, such as a typhoon. The blade design and materials are inspired by dolphin fins – they are flexible, and thus able to release stress rather than remain rigid and risk breakage.

The supporting structure is also flexible, “like a flower,” Professor Shintake explained, “The stem of a flower bends back against the wind,” and so, too, do the turbines bend along their anchoring axes. They are also built to be safe for surrounding marine life – the blades rotate at a carefully calculated speed that allows creatures caught among them to escape.

Currently Professor Shintake and the Unit researchers have completed the first steps of this project and are preparing to install the turbines – half-scale models, with 0.35-meter diameter turbines – for their first commercial experiment. The project includes installing two WEC turbines that will power LEDs for a demonstration.

“I’m imagining the planet two hundred years later,” Professor Shintake said. “I hope these [turbines] will be working hard quietly, and nicely, on each beach on which they have been installed.”

This technology will likely get its market legs. The Japanese nation has an intense apprehension about nuclear power and pays huge sums for electricity. These turbine generators aren’t large at about 28 inches, but it will take a lot of them to get to 10 gigawatts. Likely enough of them that mass production cost advantages apply. Simple, small, environmentally friendly, and probably affordable from a Japanese point of view. No one is better at huge numbers of miniature devices. Your humble writer bets this will work!

By Newenergyandfuel.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Jim Hopf on October 03 2017 said:
    Instead of using those turbines to replace 10 nuclear plants, how about using them to replace an equal amount of fossil (esp. coal) generation instead? You know, generation sources that are actually killing people, harming the environment and contributing to global warming.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News