Energy: Gulf Stream electric - Companies

Energy: Gulf Stream electric – Companies

There are many technologies for producing energy from water. The Kairyu underwater hydraulic turbine is the latest. She is able to transform ocean currents into electricity and could prove to be the hoped-for game changer.

A Japanese prototype

Marine energy is one of the most promising renewable sources. However, it represents only 0.2% of global sustainable energy. This should change soon. In recent years, various tidal (tidal energy) or wave (wave energy) technologies have been developed. The game changer could come from Japan. IHI Corporation presented its prototype underwater hydraulic turbine, called Kairyu. Composed of three cylindrical floats 20 meters long and two turbines approximately 11 meters in diameter, it converts the kinetic energy of ocean currents…

Marine energy is one of the most promising renewable sources. However, it represents only 0.2% of global sustainable energy. This should change soon. In recent years, various tidal (tidal energy) or wave (wave energy) technologies have been developed. The game changer could come from Japan. IHI Corporation presented its prototype underwater hydraulic turbine, called Kairyu. Composed of three cylindrical floats 20 meters long and two turbines approximately 11 meters in diameter, it converts the kinetic energy of ocean currents into electricity. To do this, Kairyu positions himself about 50 meters below the surface of the water. The stronger the currents, the greater the production of electricity. The first tests carried out in low-current water allowed a production of 100 kWh. A giant version could be enough to meet Japan’s total electricity demand, according to IHI Corporation. Orbital Marine Power in Scotland is developing a similar floating turbine called O2 (pictured). “We’re on a mission to unlock a clean, predictable new source of energy for millions of people, homes and businesses around the world,” said company spokeswoman Sarah Clark. The turbine produced over 3 GWh of electricity during its initial 12-month continuous test program. Its operation is similar to that of Kairyu. “The floating structure is held in place with a four-point mooring system. Electricity is routed via a loose cable that connects the turbine to the ocean floor where a static cable is laid which is connected to the local onshore power grid. ” This durable technology has an estimated capacity factor between 40 and 70%. Eventually, in countries such as Japan, the kinetic energy of ocean currents could therefore replace a stable and non-intermittent source such as nuclear power. On the side of Scotland, admits Sarah Clark, the possibilities are a little more limited. “The turbine is expected to operate in the waters off Orkney (archipelago bathed by the Gulf Stream, Editor’s note) and meet for the next 15 to 20 years the annual electricity demand of around 2,000 British homes with clean and predictable energy from fast-flowing waters, while offsetting approximately 2,200 tons of CO2 production per year”. Floating turbines should become widespread in the coming decade. IHI has announced that its turbine will be operational in 2030. Orbital, meanwhile, has been selected to lead a pan-European plan. The latter costs 26.7 million euros, of which 20.5 million comes from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program to accelerate the commercial deployment of floating energy and thus further diversify the European energy mix. .

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