Ocean Energy Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Religion

Document 1

With more industries being opened, the need for more energy was imminent. This led to the innovation of engines and machines that used fossil fuel to operate. This innovation was welcomed with open hands as it seemed to be the solution to energy problems. But it wasn’t long before scientist discovered the depletion of fossil fuel reservoirs. Similarly, the oil industry was hit by another major blow that is called global warming. However, more research work is needed to explore the depth of how efficiently can energy be harnessed from the ocean. Of the six mentioned possible source of energy, only three of them have been well developed and being used currently (California Energy Commission). To explain the mechanism of how electric power can be extracted from ocean energy, I will address one source at a time as they all have a different mechanism.

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Wave energy as the name suggests, it uses the ocean waves that are as a result of wind interaction with the ocean surface. These waves oscillate at a low frequency and therefore cannot be converted to electricity naturally. There are three different ways that energy is harnessed from waves. One is float or buoyant system which uses up-down motion to drive a hydraulic pump. This pump initiates stokes that turns generator turbines that are on the seabed. Electric power from the generator is then transmitted to the land through underwater cables. Another method is oscillating water column devices that can be moving with the waves or tied in one position. However, the major challenge with tidal energy is finding a shore that has geographical features that allow set up of dams.

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One of the world major known site is the La Rance Tidal Power plant that produces 240 MW of power. However, Recently South Korea built the largest tidal power plant that is called Shiwa lake Tidal Power Station which produces 254 MW. Fig 1. Shiwa Lake Tidal Power Plant Ocean thermal energy conversion is another form of ocean energy that has gained popularity in the recent decades. Again cold water from the deep end is used to cool the steam to replenish the working fluid and the cycle is repeated again. This type of plant has been commission in Hawaii to produce 500 KW of power. Lastly is the hybrid system uses both closed and open cycle to produce electricity. History As mentioned before, ocean energy has been among the major ideal renewable energy in the world.

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According to Esteban and Leary (2009), ocean energy has a potential of producing 1,000 to 10,000 GW globally which is far much than any renewable energy that is in use currently. The up and down motion of waves, moves the cylinder section with it thus pumping the hydraulic pump. Consequently, the pump turns turbines which generate electricity. This power has a capacity of producing 2. 25 MW but due to the dependent on wave conditions, the plant only produces 25 to 40% of its maximum capacity in a year. The power produced is then transmitted to the national grid through a seabed cable. It holds four times the maximum power output capacity than any available tidal power plant in the world. It has a double set of turbines mounted on a monopole that are similar to those of offshore wind turbines.

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This monopole can be brought to the water surface for maintenance purposes. According to the company, their rotors operate 18 to 20 hours a day and are capable of producing power equivalent to that of 1000 households (Esteban and Leary, 2009). Another technology is the Wave dragon that was commissioned since 2003 in Nissum Bredning, Denmark. Leading company in this field is also looking forward to setting a project in Northern Ireland with a capacity of 1. 2MW after setting a successful 300kW pilot project in Bristol Bay (Huckerby, 2012). Review of the socioeconomic impacts of the technology There are significant impacts as a result of ocean energy. One of them is creating a source of revenue to the government. Since power plants sell power they, therefore, create more revenue for the government.

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