Wednesday, September 12, 2007
What's New With Renewable Energy?
Thanks to an emphasis on cleaner air and the need for a cleaner environment by policy makers and consumers, entrepreneurs have been working hard to develop innovative means of renewable energy. The most recent innovation is that of ocean turbines designed to capture the powerful energy of ocean tides. Oregon Iron Works represents the “cutting edge” of American renewable energy technologies, as reported in this week’s Washington Post. Tidal energy now joins the list of lesser-known renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and solar thermal. In addition, researchers are also developing ways to turn algae into diesel fuel. Political support is only strengthening the pursuit of renewable energy. Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington is convinced that tidal energy can succeed and notes “there is nearly 900 times as much energy in a cubic meter of moving water as in a cubic meter of air.”
The tidal turbine works by pumping water through a turbine as it rises and falls with passing waves. The electricity generated feeds into undersea cables. As the Buoy rises with the ocean wave, the piston moves downward. This forces the upper hose pump to contract and push water through the turbine. As the Buoy moves downward, the reverse occurs moving the piston upward and forcing water into the turbine.
Last month, the House passed a bill requiring by 2020, 15% of private utilities’ energy supply must be renewable. Americans can expect to see the first Buoys go up by 2010.