How to get energy from the sea

Energy from the sea

For some time, humanity has realized that the only viable path for energy purposes is that of renewable resources.

We have seen photovoltaic and wind power plants sprouting like mushrooms, and more and more attention is being paid to this. But there is a good part of scientists who are working on more ambitious projects, namely extracting energy from the sea.

Wind power plant

Photovoltaic system

The forces at work in the oceans and seas of the world are portentous, and the mere thought of being able to harness them until recently was mere illusion, but with the advances made by technology, these things are now possible. The idea of ​​exploiting marine power has always been in the mind of man but so far everything has remained at the project level. Sea currents flow within the seas like huge rivers, and how they behave. The tides move huge amounts of water from one side of the Earth to the other, and the waves crash heavily on our shores. From a theoretical point of view, there is nothing on Earth comparable in terms of energy power.

Energy from the sea can be extrapolated in several ways:

  • from the waves;
  • by the tides;
  • from the currents;
  • by temperature differences.

The projects and prototypes presented so far for these fields range from the most daring to the simplest. In my opinion, the most interesting are the less invasive and more effective ones, that is those projects that recover energy through the exploitation of waves and currents.

Let's see some of them together:

  • projects that aim to exploit the power of sea currents do not differ greatly from wind farms. These are in fact turbines set in motion by these strong underwater currents, their movement produces energy. Suffice it to say that to have the energy equivalent extracted from a wind at 100 km / h, a current that moves at 3 m / s is enough. A big difference. Still at the level of experimentation, the various projects are making great strides;
  • another way is to use the movement of waves through submerged buoys. These buoys contain air chambers that are compressed when the wave passes, based on the exploitation of Archimedes' thrust. Examples of this kind are the Pelamis and A.W.S. Tested between Denmark and England;
  • the Limpet project, on the other hand, is based on exploiting the pressure exerted by the waves on the coast, with the construction of modified breakwaters, in which a submerged catchment basin acts as an energy producer;
  • an interesting project as well as nice to see is the Anaconda, that is a rubber snake left free to move in the water. The production of energy takes place by exploiting the "serpentine" movement. Of course it will be appropriate to report the plants well otherwise you risk terrorizing people, it is easy, in this case, to shout at the sighting of the sea monster !!

Fortunately, research continues, and the possibility of having "clean" energy is becoming more and more a reality. This involves several things, including shirking the yoke of economic policies dictated by states that own oil or coal, and eliminating the exploitation of these resources that are harmful to our environment.

Dr. Rossella Stocco
Environmental researcher

Video: How Do Some Waves Get SO Big?

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