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Gulf Stream tidal energy to be studied

Minesto has signed an agreement with Florida Atlantic University to examine the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of installing demonstration and commercial power plants in the Florida current.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) houses the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC), a US research and testing centre aiming to accelerate commercial marine renewable energy recovery, with a preliminary focus on the Gulf Stream. By executing this MoU, Sweden’s Minesto and FAU aim to develop a partnership with cooperative mutual research, testing, and educational activities.

According to the US Department of Energy, the Gulf Stream can supply nearly 30 per cent of the power consumption in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, which is up to 163TWh electricity. In monetary value that’s equivalent to $15bn per year in sales of electricity.

Minesto will deploy its Deep Green tidal and ocean current power plant, which resembles an underwater kite and is based on a fundamentally new principle for electricity generation from tidal and ocean currents. Deep Green recently became the first known marine power plant to generate electricity from low velocity currents, which is seen as a breakthrough for marine energy.

‘SNMREC is preparing unique testing facilities located in the Florida Current, where Minesto has assessed the ocean current resource to be favourable for Deep Green”, Anders Jansson, CEO of Minesto said in a statement. “SNMREC are experienced in resource modelling, marine measurements, environmental assessments and regulatory framework helping Minesto to accelerate potential development in the US.’

According to Minesto, the potential in the Florida Current could be 4 to 6GW, and velocities in ocean currents are often in the range of between 1-2.5m/s, which is suitable for Deep Green.

Readers' comments (3)

  • At what depth are they planning on flying their turbines? (IIRC, most of the Gulf Stream current flow is close to the surface.)

    Would it make sense to make the center part of the wind non-lifting in order to create as little turbulence as possible for the blades?

    Is there anyway to get email notification if someone addresses my questions?

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  • We've put your query to Minesto's CEO Anders Jansson so keep checking back for a response.

  • If power from moving water was economic, we would see it used in rivers first, and the sea last. In the hydropower business, no-one has devised a way of producing an economic supply of electricity from anything less than about 3 m head.

    At 2.5 m/s, the velocity head is about 300 mm. Go figure!

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  • Interesting idea.
    Has anyone done research on the effect it is likely to have on the UK at the other end of the stream ?

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  • This doesn't answer your question but Deep Green is undergoing testing in Strangford Lough, on the eastern side of Northern Ireland.

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