The first commercial tidal power station goes online
The rise and fall of the sea, caused by the moon's gravitational tug on the Earth, could be generating electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes within five years if the new Norwegian power station proves successful.
The power station, which resembles an underwater windmill, began generating electricity for the town of Hammerfest. Although still largely a prototype, the generator is the first in the world to harness the power of the sea and be connected to an electricity grid.
The tidal mill produces 300-kilowatts of electricity - enough to power 30 Norwegian houses or 60-80 British homes. Its designers hope to begin mass producing the devices within two years.
'There's still a lot of hard engineering required before the costs will come down but we are going to need all of the renewables and nuclear power we can get our hands on if we are going to meet our Kyoto commitments,' he told New Scientist.
Tidal energy has one key advantage over other renewable forms of power - it has the potential to provide a near continuous source of power 24 hours a day. Wave, wind and solar power all fluctuate throughout the day. By contrast, the tide flows continuously in one direction for just over 12 hours before pausing briefly and then reversing.
Another sort of moon power.
If a physicist in Houston has his way you'll be able to say good-bye to pollution-causing energy production from fossil fuels. In the April/May issue of The Industrial Physicist, Dr. David Criswell suggests that the Earth could be getting all of the electricity it needs using solar cells - on the moon.
posted by back40 |
9/22/2003 05:28:00 PM
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