To produce electricity, wind power (wind power), sunlight (photovoltaic energy) and the Earth’s internal heat (geothermal energy) are used. But there is another natural resource that could become one of the main sources of sustainable energy in many places on the planet, and that is Almost unused today: Strong tidal currents in the sea.
The so-called tidal energy generates an electric current taking advantage of the periodic rises and falls of the ocean waters, caused by the gravitational effect of the Sun and Moon, in the coastal areas of the continents and archipelagos. It is a technique, although it can only be used in coastal areas with some relief conditions and tidal levels Huge potential and could soon catch up with solar and wind energy In terms of obstetrics, according to various experts.
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The strongest so far
Well, recently the most powerful tidal power plant in the world was commissioned, called Orbital 02 or O2. Capable of delivering 2 megawatts of electricity to the UK’s local terrestrial electricity grid, to which you are connected by submarine cables, its manufacturer, Orbital Marine Power (OMP), explains.
This floating “sea” plant has been installed in Fall of Warness, at the European Marine Energy Center (Emec) (www.emec.org.uk): a test site for “tidal stream turbines”, located in the Orkney Islands (Orkney) north of Scotland (UK).
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The O2 plant consists of a floating structure, with one part located at sea level and another submerged and equipped Two twin turbines, each with a generating capacity of 1 MW And the like that work in hydroelectric power stations of rivers and reservoirs, which when rotating, driven by water, generate electricity.
This platform rests on mooring chains on the sea floor, in the middle of an area of strong tidal currents. Underwater turbine rotors capture the energy of flowing water, in an area where the speed is Tides can exceed 3 meters per secondAccording to Orbital Marine.
Hopefully, this clean, renewable and predictable source of energy from fast-flowing water will be the impetus for harnessing tidal currents.
The anchor consists of four chains, each of which has sufficient resistance capacity to withstand pressure Lift more than 50 double-decker buses (Those popular London transports), according to its manufacturers.
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The two-way two-way turbine is attached to the elongated floating structure (tubular structure) by means of a kind of “wings” which, in turn, have retractable “steel arms”, which, thanks to a hydraulic system, Allowing turbines to be submerged in the sea to spin and generate electricity, or it can be brought to the roof to carry out maintenance work on it.
15 years working
The construction of the O2 plant began in the second half of 2019. Manufactured and launched in early 2021 in the Scottish port city of Dundee, then towed to Orkney, is Orbital’s first commercial turbine and the culmination of more than 15 years of development, according to the company.
The installation, consisting of a 74-meter-long hull and two 10-meter blades in each of its turbines, which together form a 20-meter-diameter rotor, is expected to run in that city’s waters over the next fifteen years to meet the annual electricity demand of about 2000 British families, according to OM.
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Two nacelles generate power (the turbine itself) from O2 Sweeping over 600 square meters of water in turns that flows due to the tides, captures its mechanical energy and converts it into electrical energy.
“We hope that a clean, renewable and predictable energy source from fast-flowing water will be the catalyst for harnessing tidal currents around the world and creating a new low-carbon industrial sector,” says Andrew Scott, CEO of OMP.
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With this plant in operation, Orbital now had the next target to deploy more multi-megawatt floating plants in UK waters, and predicted that energy production costs through this system would drop sharply from Further dissemination of this technology, as was the case before with wind and solar energy.
Manufacturers say that the electrical current generated by O2 offsets the production of about 2,200 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
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