Hydropower, Project Development, Wind Power

Are There Ship-Based Marine Energy Projects?

Given that economies of scale ought to apply to ship-based or some kind of floating wind-driven electricity or hydrogen generation, why isn’t there more interest in this as an off shore (and out of sight) solution? It seems to me that a floating or ship based system that works in a given marine environment ought to work in any marine environment. CD Durham, NC

CD, One of the big “sleepers” in renewable energy is the emerging advanced water technologies, and an ever growing set of entrepreneurial firms have leapt into the water (so to speak). Verdant Power (VA) has received funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to demonstrate its 25 kW free-flow hydropower units in the East River of New York. Their prototype unit is on a pontoon, and has clearly demonstrated that hydropower, without a dam or diversion, can bring clean energy to urban and rural areas. Ocean Power Technologies of New Jersey, which has contracted with Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy and the State of Hawaii, has developed a Power Buoy that produces between 100-watt hours and 200 kWh of power using ocean waves. Finally, Wavegen of Scotland has a small unit at Limpet that uses a shore-based pneumatic device to drive a 250 kW generator, and they are developing an 18.5 kW breakwater turbine for shallow ocean deployment. Other companies testing off the coast of Florida have even larger prototype configurations of “upside down wind turbines” using ocean currents to drive multi-megawatt installations. While I have yet to see ship-borne configurations, such as you suggest, it is clear we are going to see clean, fish- and people-friendly water generators in the future.