In European Marine Energy Center located offshore of Orkney Islands of Scotland, Kawasaki Heavy plans to conduct substantiative experiments of ocean current power generation in 2014. Kawasaki will install equipment on the seabed 50 meters below the surface of the sea. Propellers 18 meters in diameter each rotate by dint of ocean current to generate electricity, and the direction of propellers will be automatically controlled responding to come and go of the tide. Special treatment will be given to the propellers to avoid malfunction due to adhesion of marine organisms. The company is confident that the technology it has accumulated in posture control and corrosion protection will be of great help to the development of ocean current power generation that offers constant generation.
Japan has the world sixth largest country in terms of the area of territorial waters and excusive economic zone (EEZ). Because it has lots of potential for utilizing ocean energy, the Ministry of the Environment plans to increase the generation capacity of ocean energy to 1,500,000 kW in 2030. Some estimate that Japan’s total wave energy amount to 36 million kW that is equivalent to the generation capacity of more than 30 nuclear power plants. The critical point is how to collect generated electricity.
A research team made up of researchers from the University of Tokyo, IHI, Toshiba, and Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute is developing an underwater floating ocean current generator that generates electricity by dint of the black current. Blades 40 meters in diameter each of a generator floating in 50 meters below the surface of the sea level rotate and generate facing the black current. Ken Takagi of the University of Tokyo says “An ocean current always flows to the same direction, allowing for stable generation.”
Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding is developing a wave power generator to make the best use of waves that come to and go from Japan of a wide range of frequencies. It will generate electricity by dint of up-and-down motions of small buoys floating on the surface of the sea. The company plans to commercialize the generator toward 2016.
An image of the tidal wave generator being
developed by Kawasaki Heavy