Harnessing the power of water could be next for sustainability

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 13:25

We all know the power of water is expansive and awe inspiring. Whether it's huge forces like hurricanes or the gradual erosion of a current, people have witnessed its strength in varying degrees and have even used it to better their lives. Effective floor heating with innovations in technology like radiant heaters can use water's properties of transferring warmth for the interiors of houses, and massive structures like the Hoover Dam can harness the power of a river to provide electricity for over a million people, but some hope to use one of Earth's abundant natural resources for even more.

Underwater turbines

A Florida-based company called Crowd Energy hopes to use the potential energy generated by the currents on the ocean floor and develop a way for people to use that power in their every day life. It have already created a prototype of its Ocean Energy Turbine and are currently working on various improvements in a second model, according to Inhabitat. The device would sit on the bottom of the ocean and work almost like a water windmill. The force from the currents would steadily push the stationary turbine and generate a sustainable source of electricity.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management stated that in Florida, using even a fraction of the ocean's power from the Gulf Stream would provide the state with 35 percent of its needed energy. Founders of Crowd Energy, Phillip and Todd Janca believe that one day massive formations of larger turbines placed along the seabeds could aid in the electrical needs of people all over the world. Ocean Energy Turbines could put the turbulent storm waters to use by exploiting the natural energy they produce.

Effects on the ecosystem

The way that these turbines are designed will ensure they have little negative impact on the environment and aquatic life around them. People can't complain about them obstructing their view since they will be deep below the surface, and the Ocean Energy Turbine is made to endure the rough conditions it may encounter underwater.

The blades used in the design are built to increase resistance when facing a current and then open up on the return swing to facilitate movement. The turbine uses a lot of force, but moves at the speed a fish would normally swim at to protect any creatures from physical harm. It also is made to run silently so that it doesn't disturb any marine life sensitive to sound.