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MIT Developing Floating Wind Turbines That Produce Power Even When There’s No Wind
Posted By Beth Buczynski On April 29, 2013 @ 1:00 am In Environment,News,Renewable Energy,Wind Power | 2 Comments
Critics of wind power  keep coming back to the same old complaint: what happens when there’s no wind? A new design from researchers at MIT  could finally offer a solution to this renewable energy  conundrum. Engineers have conceived of an offshore wind turbine anchored by hollow concrete spheres that could also turn seawater  into electricity. The turbine would allow offshore wind farm managers to store excess energy for a time when there’s no wind.
The design would use massive concrete orbs (think: the diameter of the dome on the U.S. Capitol building) to anchor floating wind turbines  to the ocean floor. When it’s particularly windy and the turbines produce more power than is needed, some of the energy could be diverted to a pump that would remove the water from the hollow sphere. Then, if there comes a time when power produced by the turbines is insufficient, water would be allowed to flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, and the resulting electricity would be sent back to shore.
“One such 25-meter sphere in 400-meter-deep water  could store up to 6 megawatt-hours of power, the MIT researchers have calculated; that means that 1,000 such spheres could supply as much power as a nuclear plant for several hours—enough to make them a reliable source of power,” reports David Chandler  for PhysOrg.
According to the researchers, the trick is finding the correct concrete wall thickness to withstand the hydrostatic pressure while also providing enough ballast mass – this will depend on the strength of the concrete used. The concrete could incorporate significant amounts of fly ash from coal-fired power plants , and the spheres could double as artificial coral reefs .
+ MIT 
Via PhysOrg 
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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/mit-developing-floating-wind-turbines-that-produce-power-even-when-theres-no-wind/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/11/Siemens-6MW-Wind-Turbine.jpg
 wind power: http://inhabitat.com/tag/wind-power/
 MIT: http://inhabitat.com/tag/mit/
 renewable energy: http://inhabitat.com/energy/
 seawater: http://inhabitat.com/tag/seawater/
 Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/03/Cape-Wind-Project-Offshore-United-States-Wind-Farm-Renewable-Energy-Projects.jpg
 wind turbines: http://inhabitat.com/tag/wind-turbines/
 deep water: http://phys.org/tags/deep+water/
 reports David Chandler: http://phys.org/news/2013-04-powereven.html
 coal-fired power plants: http://inhabitat.com/tag/coal-fired-power-plants/
 coral reefs: http://inhabitat.com/tag/coral-reefs/
 + MIT: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/wind-power-even-without-the-wind-0425.html
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