Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Study Explores Using Oceans and Lakes as Renewable Energy Resources

25.07.2011
As the demand for energy increases worldwide, the search for renewable and viable sources of power intensifies. Two Ryerson University researchers have taken that search underwater, and using Iran as a test case, have found that oceans and lakes could make an enormous contribution to global energy production.

“Bodies of water are a huge, untapped source of energy. They contain highly concentrated and highly dense forms of energy, which provide roughly the same amount of energy as thousands of solar panels and wind turbines,” said Alan Fung, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and lead author of the paper, Review of Marine Renewable Energies: Case Study of Iran. The study analyzed the seas and lakes in Iran and surrounding areas to assess the potential of different types of marine energy.

As a renewable resource marine energy, unlike wind and solar energy, can be obtained at any time and can be stored free of charge. Bodies of water offer predictable amounts of energy, and in some cases, require smaller infrastructure (and less capital investment) to extract energy than other renewable sources of power. Harnessing marine energy is also more environmentally sustainable as conventional fossil fuel-fired electricity generation can cause pollution and lead to global warming.

While the technology to support certain types of marine energy is not yet commercially available, the researchers say their study shows that further investment is needed in order to make full use of this rich, renewable resource.

“You need to have a vision for the future,” said co-author Farshid Zabihian. “We shouldn’t wait until the technology is perfect to use marine energy. We can start right now by introducing it in smaller communities and through pilot projects.”

The data used in the study was provided by Zabihian, who studied power generation in Iran before moving to Canada to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering at Ryerson. A former student of Fung, Zabihian graduated from Ryerson in June and will soon join the faculty of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

Using Zabihian’s data, the researchers examined the viability of five distinct types of marine energy. It was discovered that each one was specifically suited for Iran’s various bodies of water and could also be used in particular regions elsewhere in the world.

For example, wave energy, which is produced by the wind’s effect on water, does not require large areas of land in order to capture the energy from incoming waves. For that reason, this type of energy would be most effective on remote islands that are not connected to the power grid and where electricity is quite expensive. According to the World Energy Council, worldwide wave energy could potentially provide up to 12 per cent of current global electricity demand.

Tidal energy is created by the gravitational forces of the moon and the sun on the waters and rotation of the Earth. It is a highly predictable source of energy. Tidal energy takes the form of potential energy (the difference in water levels between ebb and flow) or kinetic energy (from the tidal current). As such, it could be used to replace or support conventional types of power generation.

Other types of energy examined by Fung and Zabihian include: ocean thermal energy, which relies upon the temperature difference between warm, shallow water and cold, deep water; ocean current energy, which requires the installation of underwater turbines to collect energy generated by wind and temperature differences in oceans due to solar heating; and salinity gradient energy, which produces energy from the osmotic pressure difference ( the amount of pressure needed to prevent a solution from flowing through a membrane) between fresh and salty water.

Review of Marine Renewable Energies: Case Study of Iran was published in the June 2011 issue of the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to 28,000 students, including 2,000 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 130,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca

Johanna VanderMaas | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ryerson.ca

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht How protons move through a fuel cell
22.06.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht Fraunhofer IZFP acquires lucrative EU project for increasing nuclear power plant safety
21.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>