My interest for this subject arose from my love for the environment. I believe that renewable energy sources can help the world and reduce waste and pollution. As I have never heard of tidal energy, I decided to study about it.
Methods of Harnessing This Energy
Pelamis: “Sea Snake”
The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter, better known as the “sea snake” is composed of four tube segments with joints in between. Electricity is created by generators when the “snake” moves with the rise and fall of the tide.
Tidal Paddles and Fences
Tidal Paddles area hinged mechanism with buoyant flaps which push water through to generate electricity.
A Tidal Fence is similar to a tidal turbine, but is vertical.
They are similar to wind turbines, but are underwater and are more efficient than wind turbines if blades are of the same length. Highly efficient because current underwater is very strong, and due to this the turbine has to be sturdy.
A tidal barrage is somewhat like a dam. These are constructed across an inlet of an ocean bay or other water source. Also, major tidal plants have tidal barrages.
- The phenomena of tides are caused by the rotation of Earth and pull of gravity of the Sun and Moon.
- Tides begin in the ocean and reach coastlines everywhere.
- There are two tides, high tide and low tide. These tides fuel every system for harnessing energy.
- The largest tidal plant in the world is Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station which is located in South Korea. This tidal station/plant has the largest electricity generation capacity at 254 megawatts (MW).
- The oldest tidal plant in the world is the La Rance Tidal Power Station located in France. It has 240 MW of electricity generation capacity.
Pros & Cons
Positive aspects of tidal energy are:
- Low maintenance/operation costs
There are a few negatives about tidal energy. These are:
- Limited range/locations
- Large Expense
- Can affect wildlife and ecosystems
- Limited electricity generation
Tidal energy is young. It has not been around very long and has not been majorly invested in (as can be seen by the US). With enough time, research, and money tidal energy could be very reliable and widespread for coastal towns and reach even further inland. In order to help the world, renewable energy has to become more widespread, supported, and invested in.