5 Types of Marine Renewable Energy

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[Posted on February 25th, 2015 by Bill Stewart]
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One of the latest trends in the green movement is discovering the many types of renewable energy. The ocean provides a wealth of opportunities for creating energy from natural resources. These are grouped together in the category of marine renewable energy. Energy carried via ocean temperature fluctuations, salinity, waves and tides create a form of kinetic energy. The goal for researchers is to determine how to harness this energy for electricity sources applicable to industries, homes and transportation systems. In addition to uncovering new ways to generate energy, here at Stewart Technology Associates we provide the capabilities for measuring these energy sources, such as via mooring analysis.

Wave Power

Wind used to form waves is created by the temperatures of the sun via solar energy. When wind interacts with the ocean’s surface, waves are generated. In terms of wave power, a wave that is found at between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, for both the northern and southern hemisphere, is most beneficial. For those researchers interested in harnessing wave power, various approaches must be considered. The four most popular approaches to this research include analysis of surface attenuators, overtopping devices, point absorber buoys, and oscillating water columns.

Tidal Power

As with wave power, tidal power also involves the movement of water. However, with tidal power the energy is generated through hydroelectric power. For those studying tidal power possibilities, there are three ways that tidal power is produced. These include dynamic tidal power, tidal stream power and tidal barrage power.

Marine Current Power

When the ocean fluctuates in salinity, temperature, wind and bathymetry, there is a fluctuation in marine currents. This form of marine renewable energy is most applicable to energy extraction methods, such as the powering of turbines. One issue that can affect the rate of marine current power is the presence of marine organisms. As a result, this form of power must be applied at distances far offshore, which involves lengthy power cables for its transmission.

Ocean Thermal Energy

Water temperatures vary according to its depths. For tropical waters, this difference in temperature is the greatest degree, which generates ocean thermal energy. This energy is most suitable for vaporization used for production of desalinized water or electrical generation on a localized scale.

Osmotic Power

Reverse osmosis is useful for converting salt water to fresh water. In the process, salinity gradient energy is created at the stage of conversion. While this is a new technology and form of marine renewable energy that is on the cusp of understanding by researchers, there is stronger possibility of its effectiveness, as being noted in Europe by researchers of the Netherlands and Norway. Finding ways to make renewable energy from the ocean is hopeful thanks to modernized technology and equipment. Contact Stewart Technology Associates today to learn more.