The ocean holds such tremendous promise for clean energy. The power of the waves and the power of the tides once harnessed in the right way could provide limitless continuous energy to power our world. Wind, wave and tidal technology companies are flourishing as the race to replace fossil fuels and nuclear power accelerates.
Energy storage for non continous renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy is the next important step in moving to 100% renewable energy. What if the ocean could be used to store energy as well as produce it?
Here is a team that has developed a technology called Ocean Gravitational Energy Storage, that use the simple concept that heavy objects sink to the bottom of any body of water. How can placing heavy concrete weights on the sea bed attached to the surface by strong cables store energy?
The answer is the type of energy that is stored. Potential energy is stored by raising the weights to the surface of the water using excess electricity which in effect is converted to potential energy. The energy available is dependant on the weight of the concrete object and the distance to the sea bed.
Realizing the potential energy of a weight at the water surface requires that a linear generator be attached to the cable so that as the weight sinks, electricity is generated. A series of these weights could store vast amounts of energy and this energy could be released in a way that allows for continous generation.
The cost advantage for Ocean Gravitational Energy Storage.
The team claims that this system will store energy more than 10 times more efficiently that current battery technology. Numerous patents have been filed and the team is now trying to secure financing. If funds are secured the next step is to build a working prototype. Used in conjuction with solar or wind arms, the Ocean Gravitational Energy Storage System may revolutionize clean energy from the sea.
So armchair energy experts, what do you think of this novel energy storage idea?
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.