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Roll out the carpet for clean energy

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 16:01

The power of water has been known to mankind for some time. Dams block rivers to harness their potential for hydro power, and radiant heaters utilize water's physical properties for a much more efficient heating system. But as modern advancements continue to propel technology forward, the resource has never been more valuable. While homeowners may be concerned with installing the best heating system in their house to lower energy bills, University of California, Berkeley, is pushing the limits of hydro power with a new design for a hydraulic seafloor carpet that captures the kinetic energy at the bottom of the oceans for a source of clean energy, reported Jetson Green.

Regions along the coasts of the world have a sustainable outlet of energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels and more reliable than other green energy solutions, since waves are consistent compared to sunshine and high winds. The idea for these ocean carpets first came when engineers at Berkeley realized the effect mud had on waves along the ocean floor, according to National Geographic.

"Mud is known to very strongly dampen ocean waves. Within a distance of a couple of hundred yards even very strong waves can be completely dampened out. So we were inspired to wonder if a synthetic carpet could respond similarly to the action of waves and absorb that same amount of energy," Reza Alam, an engineer at the school, told the source.

A mat made of rubber will be placed along the seabed on top of a series of hydraulic pumps that will absorb the movement of the approaching waves. The pressure that moves the mat up and down will then be sent back to the mainland where it's converted into usable energy, stated Gizmag.

As technological innovations continue, homes every may see a greater relationship with the energy and heating applications water can provide, creating a more sustainable way of life at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.

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