Clean energy to come from underwater kites
Fri, 25 Mar 2011 8:30a.m.
We've long been harnessing the power of water to generate electricity, but never before with kites.
A UK company, Minesto, has received $750,000 to develop its idea of using kites tethered to the ocean floor to harness the power of the ocean's tides.
If the trial is successful, it's believed by 2020 the underwater kites could generate enough clean electricity to power a city of about 190,000 people (slightly larger than Hamilton).
"The UK boasts some of the best tidal resources in the world and we are focused on bringing down the cost of extracting that energy," says Benj Sykes of the Carbon Trust, which is funding the research.
"Tidal energy has the potential to produce up to 18 terawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to over 5 percent of the UK’s electricity consumption."
The first trial will involve kites planted just off the coast of Northern Ireland. It works by 'flying' around the ocean in a figure eight pattern, its motion amplifying ocean currents' power by a magnitude of 10, meaning it works even in less intense waters.
"The support from the Carbon Trust has really helped Minesto to accelerate its technical development and proves that the UK has large ambitions for its marine renewable programme," says Anders Hansson, Minesto managing director.
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