Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Harnessing Ocean Current Energy — Promising New System Developed

Ocean currents are a very promising-looking source of renewable energy, but the technology for capturing ocean current energy and using it to create electricity hasn’t matured yet. However, that may soon change — a new ocean current harnessing system capable of working in deep waters has been developed by researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and a prototype has already been successfully tested.

Procodac ,New system for the energy use of marine currents

The new experimental prototype — created within the framework of the PROCODAC-GESMEY project — has successfully met the goals of the researchers: it’s cheaper to construct, install, and maintain than current designs; it can produce the expected amount of energy; it can be maneuvered by remote control; it can operate in relatively deep waters; and it’s affordable enough for “a medium sized shipyard” to purchase, as the researchers put it.

The prototype — created in collaboration with the Astilleros Balenciaga company and the Fundación Centro Tecnológico Soermar — is one-tenth the size that a potential “industrial size” 1MW unit would be. The prototype is also accompanied by a newly designed underwater buoy capable of operating in areas of 40 meters of depth.

The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid explains the new design:

Today, to harness energy is an issue of interest, particularly those related to sea. The first generation of systems of harnessing energy from ocean currents was only feasible in areas of maximum depth of 30-50 meters (because the generators were joined at the bottom) and its maintenance was expensive. Consequently, second-generation systems came out: anchoring systems with diverse solutions that allow us a submerged operation with the possibility to put afloat the main elements for its maintenance. The tested prototype of the GESMEY project belongs to these second-generation systems.

The main unit of the prototype includes, as we can see on the image, a structure of stainless steel with a central body and three peripheral parts joined by arms. The generator, the multiplier, and the instrumentation system are inside while the rotor that captures ocean currents is outside.

During the development of the project, tests of integration and the tune-up were conducted in the LEEys Lab of the ETSIN and at the shipyard. They also conducted sea trials divided into tests of maneuvers and trailer. The project was complemented with a research on hydrodynamics and structures as well as maneuvers and energy control. These studies were embodied in various numerical simulations.

The researchers will next be working on the creation of a larger prototype with potential performance improvements.

While this new prototype/research is focused entirely upon harnessing the energy of ocean currents, there are actually quite a few ways to harness the incredible and renewable power of the ocean — waves, tides, salinity, temperatures, etc. It’s been estimated that as an energy resource, the world’s oceans could easily supply all of the energy currently used by humans many times over. Just something to keep in mind….

The new design is patented/patent pending, and the co-owner is the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid within a Framework Agreement signed between UPM and Soermar.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

Today's high tech, nanoscale materials are lending new life to the dream of harvesting renewable energy from the ocean through osmosis.

Clean Power

A group of British industry, university, and local government leaders have launched a new collaboration to establish a Low Carbon Industrial Cluster in the...

Clean Power

Abundance Investment, the UK's leading peer-to-peer ethical investment company, announced last week that it has closed its largest fund-raise to date, securing £7 million for Scottish tidal...

Clean Power

The Canadian government has allocated $23 million to DP Energy to develop tidal power in the Bay of Fundy that will use turbines from...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.