Ocean Current Energy
With all those currents coursing through the ocean, you’d think we’d want to do something with them. Currents have efficient energy, waiting for scientists to tap into them. Even kinetic energy circulates through the calmest waters. Researchers are developing underwater turbines, like underwater windmills, to churn all that current into electricity. And even during the ocean’s calmest days, these turbines keep on churning.
Japan is already way ahead of the game with its demo generator, called Kairyu, despite the chance of typhoons. According to News Atlas, this generator is “anchored to the ocean floor much like the Orbital O2. But where the O2 harnesses the flow just a couple of meters under the surface and switches directions with the tides, Kairyu is kept steady at around 50 m (164 ft) under the waves. That’s not the most efficient place to harvest ocean current energy – closer to the surface would be better, says IHI, but the area experiences typhoon conditions that can result in waves more than 20 m (65 ft) high, so keeping them deeper underwater is primarily a safety consideration.” And even though we might experience the warming of the oceans, this could have benefits for ocean current energy, since warmer temperatures will cause stronger currents (New Atlas).