A new idea for green energy combines the worlds of wind power and wave power to create underwater kite-turbines. Designed by Swedish renewable energy company Minesto, each underwater kite spans 8-14 meters and features a turbine attached to its underbelly. Each kite is tethered to the sea floor and it can “fly” with the tidal stream in a figure-8 motion.
Working under the same principles as the Seagen Turbine (pictured above), the kite-turbine’s blades are turned by the movement of passing tides. But the swooping motion of the kites amplify the speed of the water flowing through the turbine 10 fold – similar to the way sail boats gather speed by cutting across the wind. Furthermore, the kite has neutral buoyancy, so doesn’t sink as the tide turns, and the turbine mouth is protected to keep fish from flying through.
Over the next 18 months the UK Carbon Trust and Invest Northern Ireland will spend $564,000 to fund trials as the UK strives to meet its ever-more ambitious environmental goals. Harnessing the power of the ocean presents many challenges, not least the economic cost. Two turbines with a combined capacity of 1MW could cost over $3m, and commercial viability will rely heavily on economies of scale.
Check out the video below to see just how Minesto aims to capture the awesome power of the sea.
source – inhabitat.com