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Tidal power draws interest
Peroleum News report, Oct 8, 2006
Report triggers proposals to harness powerful tidal flows in Cook Inlet, Knik Arm
Alan Bailey, Petroleum News
1. At least three companies see Alaska tidal energy power generation as a possibility within the next few years.
2. And in a report published in June, the Electric Power Research Institute (commonly known as EPRI), a California-based non-profit research organization, estimated that the tidal currents in Knik Arm could practically generate about 17 megawatts.
3. Natural Currents Services LLC is proposing to build a tidal energy facility in Knik Arm, in the narrows between Cairn Point and Port MacKenzie.
4. The Knik Arm facility would consist of a farm of turbine-powered generators, known in the parlance as tidal in-stream energy conversion (or TISEC) devices.
5. In the last five years, some companies have developed expertise in in-stream or free-flow hydro generation, where it does not require dams or impoundments
6. State-of-the-art computer simulation of tidal power sites coupled with the use of thermoplastics for generator manufacture is driving rapid advances in tidal energy technology
7. A breakthrough turbine design called a Gorlov helical turbine involves a series of aerofoil blades twisted into helical spirals around the perimeter of a cylindrical turbine rotor.
8. Right now there are something like 35 or 40 tidal power applications in before FERC
9. In its New York harbor project, a company has used fish migration periods as an opportunity to do turbine maintenance.
10. “In New York harbor we have 32 species of fish and a lot of migration down the rivers and out into the ocean, so during those fish migrations that happen during a two or three week period during the year we can pull these turbines up and let the fish go through and do our maintenance,” Bason said.
11. An operational full-scale power station system in Knik Arm might come to fruition late in 2009.
12. The FERC application envisages “(1) rotating propeller blades, approximately 20 to 50 feet in diameter; (2) an integrated generator, producing 500 kilowatts to 2 megawatts of electricity; (3) anchoring systems supporting the TISEC device at varying depths underwater; (4) a mooring umbilical line to an anchor on the sea bottom; and (5) an interconnection transmission line.”
13. According to one expert, “If one tenth of 1 percent of the energy in the oceans was converted into electric power it would satisfy the demands for the entire world’s energy five times over.”
14. Alaska has 50,000 megawatts of potential capacity just from conventional hydropower
Companies mentioned: E3 Inc., Natural Currents Services’ sister company within the Natural Currents Energy Group, Alaska Tidal Energy Co., Chevron Technology Ventures
Personalities mentioned: Dr. Peter Henderson, a director of Pisces Conservation Ltd. and a senior research associate of the Department of Zoology in the University of Oxford, England.
Full news report here
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