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Ocean currents and hydropower, solving the worlds energy problems without fusion dreams?

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So @R-T-B and I were having a discussion, it got me thinking about something since Wash State has hydro power, same with British Columbia, really benefits that region of the world immensely.

If the ocean currents are predictable, and we already have the capability of laying wires entire ocean lengths (aka fiber optic internets in the oceans) would it not be possible to use one of the ocean currents near a coastline to generate underwater hydropower for us? Giant spinning wheel things (probably completely underwater? the currents are stronger under the water yes, a perfect anchor balance system to keep them in place floating correctly?), laying right in the path of the current, to generate the power, and then (fill in blank here with a bunch of genius scientists and engineers who figure out some things I don't know what I am talking about) the giant insulated cables of electricity will instantly transport the energy (since like fiber optics it will travel at speed o light or near speed of light since it is pure energy) -straight into a country or state?

I know I am probably going to get a bunch of that is impossible responses, I am well aware, but that is not why I am asking this, I am asking if it is possible, even a 1% chance?

@TheLostSwede thoughts? or has the madness finally taken hold and I no longer make sense? I do hope not, for as Bilbo likes to say, I would like one more adventure please



also side topic - problem with fusion is melting stuff right? would fusion be more possible in depths of the cold ocean and the way gravity works down at certain depths? and then giant insulated cables to transfer the energy back to the main land? no no don't answer this one, the madness truly has taken hold! but answer the hydropower one! :roll:
 
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I think it would probably screw with ocean fish migrations not to mention the immense construction cost. Honestly a system harnessing tidal forces is probably more realistic. Tides go in and out regularly... but beachfront is EXPENSIVE because tourism.

As a kid, I thought it'd be fun/useful to build a giant spinning compass centered right on the north pole to harness for power... doubt that'd work either lol.
 
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I think it would probably screw with ocean fish migrations not to mention the immense construction cost. Honestly a system harnessing tidal forces is probably more realistic.

tidal forces are too small and the back and forth is not consistent imo.

and the ocean currents are massive, even a power wheel big enough to generate energy for an entire city like Los Angeles would probably be a fraction of the space needed in the current itself. could be buoyed nets around the wheels too, cheap enough to keep most fish to just go around, no diff then if they had to go around any other obstacle like an iceberg or small island.
 

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Maybe make a generator that works using the crush power deep in the ocean?
 
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Maybe make a generator that works using the crush power deep in the ocean?
Crush power is one way. Not really cyclic like a generator needs.


tidal forces are too small
When you consider the area the force is actually quite massive (like incredibly so actually) but you'll never get an entire coastline like that. Beachfront is too expensive.

Plus I am certain this would effect tide pool life.
 
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Crush power is one way. Not really cyclic like a generator needs.



When you consider the area the force is actually quite massive (like incredibly so actually) but you'll never get an entire coastline like that. Beachfront is too expensive.

Plus I am certain this would effect tide pool life.

this is kind of my point too, tides are too rough. where as an underwater wheel with an ocean current is more predictable, more easily calculated, and less prone to say weather events and such (assuming an underwater wheel is possible), coastal underwater is still effected to much by weather events

Maybe make a generator that works using the crush power deep in the ocean?

I see your thinking here, but I think rtb is right on this, it has the cyclical in nature to generate power, unless its something that rotates, and would expand back to normal shape once it rose to a certain dpeth, then back down again, and the crushing part generates some energy? no idea
 

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Well maybe we need non cyclic generators. Could piezo be used of some sort to generate power by crushing?
 
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Well maybe we need non cyclic generators. Could piezo be used of some sort to generate power by crushing?

you will have to give me a link, I have never heard of that word in my life lol
 
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Back in '14, I devised a way to harness tidal energy....use the weight of falling mass to ratchet another mass. The tide coming in would then lift the previously falling mass to high tide level, then fall again, ratcheting the other mass up higher. After the mass being lifted by the falling mass has reached a satisfactory height, let it fall and use it however you want...spin some magnets, pump water...

Well, after doing a small bit of research, come to find out, Boeing has the patent on it, from '08. I was a few years away.

Capturing the mass of high tide is the answer, not the motion of the water going back and forth.
 

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Tidal power is a thing already. But it's prohibitively expensive to create and the maintenance of infrastructure with moving parts in an ocean environment is exceptionally fraught. Also, as has been noted, drawing down on tidal currents impacts all manner of marine life.

Here's a brief summary of tidal sources.


Also, of note:

 
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Back in '14, I devised a way to harness tidal energy....use the weight of falling mass to ratchet another mass. The tide coming in would then lift the previously falling mass to high tide level, then fall again, ratcheting the other mass up higher. After the mass being lifted by the falling mass has reached a satisfactory height, let it fall and use it however you want...spin some magnets, pump water...

Well, after doing a small bit of research, come to find out, Boeing has the patent on it, from '08. I was a few years away.

Capturing the mass of high tide is the answer, not the motion of the water going back and forth.

you do not think there is a 1% chance the ocean current one is a good idea? i feel like the tides is very wearing on the gear used due to the high impact of its motion state as you said it must go higher and SLAM coming back down, where as a giant ass wheel on a ocean current would be smooth and steady.

also would it be possible to spray/paint/infuse the giant wheel with one of those new nano things that reflect like 99% of water, making it spin faster and reducing corrosion of the salt?

Tidal power is a thing already. But it's prohibitively expensive to create and the maintenance of infrastructure with moving parts in an ocean environment is exceptionally fraught. Also, as has been noted, drawing down on tidal currents impacts all manner of marine life.

Here's a brief summary of tidal sources.


Also, of note:


brown crabs won't be anywhere near an ocean current. i am not talking about tidal he was
 
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I think it would probably screw with ocean fish migrations not to mention the immense construction cost. Honestly a system harnessing tidal forces is probably more realistic. Tides go in and out regularly... but beachfront is EXPENSIVE because tourism.

As a kid, I thought it'd be fun/useful to build a giant spinning compass centered right on the north pole to harness for power... doubt that'd work either lol.
Now that I'd like to see, just the odd Ness of it would be worth it.

I think they're is plenty of opportunity with wave and ocean power but I like the self thermal pumped water power idea using massive pipes that go way down to the bottom of a deep ocean with thermally conductive walls , you may have to start it off before it gets going enough to attach a turbine but I saw a successful attempt somewhere on the web,.
 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity
220px-SchemaPiezo.gif
 
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Turns out that salt-water causes galvanic corrosion, meaning any metal machine you make will fall apart in a year or so. (Ships get around this with Zinc plates: carefully making the Zinc fall apart while keeping the rest of the ship usable). As such, any machine you make in the ocean: be it to gather wind or tidal energy, will corrode astonishingly quickly... grossly raising the price of maintenance.

Plastic might work in theory, but has other issues, such as microfractures and the like. Steel is used for machinery because steel is really good at the job (despite corroding away in these conditions). Steel is also cheaper per unit strength.

Steel and concrete works for dams because that's freshwater, and our techniques of battling corrosion work a lot better on freshwater rather than salt-water. It will, at a minimum, only make sense to try to make salt-water energy harvest plants _AFTER_ we've exhausted our fresh-water sources (where these problems are easier to deal with).
 
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What about a heat engine, the sea surface is warmer than the depth; the efficiency is hideous, but that is not a problem with the sea so large.
 
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you do not think there is a 1% chance the ocean current one is a good idea? i feel like the tides is very wearing on the gear used due to the high impact of its motion state as you said it must go higher and SLAM coming back down, where as a giant ass wheel on a ocean current would be smooth and steady.

also would it be possible to spray/paint/infuse the giant wheel with one of those new nano things that reflect like 99% of water, making it spin faster and reducing corrosion of the salt?



brown crabs won't be anywhere near an ocean current. i am not talking about tidal he was
Never said slam. The mass is attached to a rope or line, and wrapped around an axel. As it falls, the axel will spin
 
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I do like the spitballing of ideas, even if impractical. Cool thread Lynx, energy generation and improving it has always been a fun thought experiment for me.
 
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Completely agree, frog. Now, I own tidal riparian rights.
 
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Turns out that salt-water causes galvanic corrosion, meaning any metal machine you make will fall apart in a year or so. (Ships get around this with Zinc plates: carefully making the Zinc fall apart while keeping the rest of the ship usable). As such, any machine you make in the ocean: be it to gather wind or tidal energy, will corrode astonishingly quickly... grossly raising the price of maintenance.

Plastic might work in theory, but has other issues, such as microfractures and the like. Steel is used for machinery because steel is really good at the job (despite corroding away in these conditions). Steel is also cheaper per unit strength.

Steel and concrete works for dams because that's freshwater, and our techniques of battling corrosion work a lot better on freshwater rather than salt-water. It will, at a minimum, only make sense to try to make salt-water energy harvest plants _AFTER_ we've exhausted our fresh-water sources (where these problems are easier to deal with).

I don't see why we couldn't use some advanced very thick plastic for the turbine part of it? it only needs to spin, the steel parts can be encased somehow

I do like the spitballing of ideas, even if impractical. Cool thread Lynx, energy generation and improving it has always been a fun thought experiment for me.

ty!
 
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Stainless steel is good at resisting corrosion.
 
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I don't see why we couldn't use some advanced very thick plastic for the turbine part of it? it only needs to spin, the steel parts can be encased somehow

The classical solution is yes, plastic (though you may know it in terms of another word: polyurethane paint). When we look at large metalic structures over salt-water (ex: Golden Gate Bridge), we can see that the maintenance tasks include replacing said plastic component (aka: the paint) every 7 years or so.

Its a totally different story if you have moving parts that have wear-and-tear however. I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but you can talk to any boating dude about the maintenance tasks they do on their boats to keep things working. Its a rather substantial schedule: taking care of a boat is a lot of work (and really, an ocean turbine would be just a "backwards boat", where instead of injecting energy into the water, you're gathering energy from the water).

So yeah, as far as I'm concerned, you're basically proposing to make a stationary boat: taking energy from the waves rather than moving through the waves. So your maintenance tasks are probably really, really similar to what sailors will deal with.
 
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I think phosphoric acid may also help to turn the rust into iron phosphate.
 
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Stainless steel is good at resisting corrosion.

Resisting yes, but saltwater is very, very VERY corrosive. By my understanding, most boats today use sacrificial zinc or something like that (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_anode), in addition to using corrosion resistant materials (like "stainless steel").

Sure, your stainless steel knife does fine in household usage. But that's not a saltwater ocean, you've got a very big difference in how much "corrosion" is going on.

I think phosphoric acid may also help to turn the rust into iron phosphate.

Rust does things to machines: rust is bigger (so if it happens in a concrete-rebar, your rebar "grows" and will crack the concrete). And when you have things that change in size/shape, it becomes really hard to make precision machinery like gears.

And you need gears to get a turbine to work at all. So yeah, rust is the enemy. Heck, rust is an enemy on a bridge, let alone in a complicated machine like a turbine. It won't take much rust to turn a gear into the wrong shape, and then everything in your machine stops working.
 
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The classical solution is yes, plastic (though you may know it in terms of another word: polyurethane paint). When we look at large metalic structures over salt-water (ex: Golden Gate Bridge), we can see that the maintenance tasks include replacing said plastic component (aka: the paint) every 7 years or so.

Its a totally different story if you have moving parts that have wear-and-tear however. I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but you can talk to any boating dude about the maintenance tasks they do on their boats to keep things working. Its a rather substantial schedule: taking care of a boat is a lot of work (and really, an ocean turbine would be just a "backwards boat", where instead of injecting energy into the water, you're gathering energy from the water).

So yeah, as far as I'm concerned, you're basically proposing to make a stationary boat: taking energy from the waves rather than moving through the waves. So your maintenance tasks are probably really, really similar to what sailors will deal with.

they have tidal waves generating energy now in salt water, and those are taking way more of a punishment than this idea would be... that salt is slamming into tidal wave generators/turbines. and mine would be more of a gentle flow. so if they can do it, so we can. and better to boot!
 
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It's not complicated figure it out. They got to the damn moon and they made a bomb that goes boom I'm a mushroom they can figure this out.
 
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