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Using moon's gravity to generate power

Question asked by Kaustubh Katdare in #Coffee Room on Oct 5, 2012
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Oct 5, 2012
Rank A1 - PRO
We engineers aren't very romantic. While others look at the moon as the messenger of love, GE's engineers look at it as a source of megawatts. Phil Scott, business manager at General Electric Power Conversion, thinks that the tides caused by moon's gravity would be a more reliable & predictable source of green energy than solar or wind. He and his team believes that this force of nature is begging to be utilised. GE has installed tidal turbines on the sea floor around the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland. The design of these turbines resemble the wind turbines and look like large ship propellers sinked to a depth of about 240 ft. The turbines have been mounted at the pinch points where the tides rush through a narrow channel between the main-land and the island. These turbines deliver ~ 15 MW of energy to the grid.

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GE's engineers are currently working on power converters and generators for an extra 10 MW turbine in the northwest Scotland. It's estimated that the tidal source can provide for about 25-30 GW, approximately 12% of UK's demands. Currently there are 3 ways of generating tidal power - from the vertical flow of tide as they rise and fall at one spot, from the horizontal currents of water and third from the up and down motion of the buoys on the surface of water. While the first two methods have been established, the third needs lot of work.

The tidal power generation may not surpass the wind power generation anytime in near future, however it can be expected that in the next few years there will be a significant number of tidal arrays. We may even expect to see the grids in various countries to be interconnected to deliver the tidal power.

Source: GE Posted in: #Coffee Room

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