Following the disastrous nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011, policymakers have been searching for alternative sources of green energy, leaving no stone unturned.
IHI Corp, a Japanese heavy machinery manufacturer, has successfully tested a prototype of a massive, airplane-sized turbine that can generate electricity from powerful deep sea ocean currents, laying the groundwork for a promising new source of renewable energy that does not require sunny days or strong winds.
Kairyu, the company’s most recent prototype, weights 330 tons. A large fuselage connects two counter-rotating turbine fans, allowing the entire equipment to float while anchored to the sea floor, hovering between 100 and 160 feet below the surface.
There, it draws energy from the Kuroshio Current, one of the world’s strongest ocean currents, off Japan’s eastern coast, and uses it to power its massive turbines. This Current has the potential to create up to 200 gigatonnes of power, or around 60% of Japan’s current producing capacity.
During earlier this year’s demonstrations, the business was able to generate roughly 100 kilowatts of reliable electricity. IHI Corp expects to generate two megawatts during subsequent testing, with commercial operations beginning in the 2030s. Engineers are now faced with the difficult task of scaling the process to the point where it makes economic sense.
Reference- Bloomberg, NEDO website & PR, Futurism, New Energy, Business Standard, Yahoo Finance