Published on August 15th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown7
Hybrid Wind- And Wave-Powered Generator Under Development (VIDEO)
August 15th, 2013 by Nicholas Brown
A Japanese firm named Modec has been developing and conducting small-scale testing of a new generator which utilizes both wind and wave energy.
It is an offshore turbine which was dreamed up by Takuju Nakamura that has a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) on top as well as a vertical-axis wave-powered generator on the bottom end, submerged underwater. The unit is called a “floating wind and current power generation system.” One will be deployed off the southwest coast of Japan this fall for testing.
Apparently, this turbine won’t be small, as it is expected to generate enough electricity to power up to 500 houses, with a power generation capacity of 1.5 MW. 1.5 MW is average for a utility-scale wind turbine. Nakamura claimed that it could generate twice as much power as a traditional turbine of the same diameter.
Nakamura said that 80 to 90% of the power generated by the unit would come from the wind turbine, while the rest would be generated by the wave-powered generator. The unit will be tethered to shore using cables which will also transmit power to land energy storage units.
“We can start the operations and we will learn from that one, and in the future, the battery cost will be less. Maybe 10 years later we will be in a very good shape for the business,” he told CBS’ Seth Doane.
Interestingly, Nakamura previously worked to develop a way to produce liquified natural gas at sea. As was the case for many others, the Fukushima disaster in Japan shook him and made him realize that Japan’s energy infrastructure was not adequately prepared for such seismic events.
He said: “After the earthquake, it was a very big shock for the people like us in Japan.” Modec allowed him to transition to the field of developing alternative sources of energy. Nakamura believes that, as the gas industry did, people are going to look to the sea for renewable power generation.
“We want to, you know, win the race,” he explained. “That means we have to start now.”