Underwater Ocean Energy Turbine Harvests Vast & Powerful Marine Currents

by , 04/07/14

Ocean Energy Turbine, Crowd Energy, ocean energy, ocean currents, marine currents, renewable energy

According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, if you utilized just 1/1000th of the energy potential available in the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, you could supply Florida with 35% of its electricity. Extrapolate that out across all the major currents globally and there’s plenty of potential to supply the entire world with electricity. Florida-based Crowd Energy was started by two brothers and marine experts, Todd and Phillip Janca, who want to harness that energy. They have been working for eight years on a sub-sea water turbine that will safely and efficiently generate energy from marine currents.

Related: Ocean Power Technologies Receives Federal Approval for the First Commercial Wave Farm in the US

The Ocean Energy Turbine is a three-bladed vertical axis turbine with large paddles featuring integrated, movable blades. As the current begins to push on a paddle the blades flip shut, offering more surface area for the current to push against. As the paddle spins around, the blades open back up to offer less resistance. The turbine has been designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the marine environment while minimizing impact on aquatic life. The high-torque, low-speed turbine operates at speeds similar to swimming fish and should not present any physical risk to life, and it also makes minimal noise so as to not disturb marine life acoustically.

Related: Minesto Underwater Kite Generates Energy from Ocean Currents

Currently, Crowd Energy is running a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the company to progress their design past their first prototype into a second prototype for laminar flow tank tests. Afterwards they will begin open water testing and verification with the help of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University. The team hopes to prove their technology, improve upon the design and then begin work on production scale turbines that can generate real electricity in the ocean. Ultimately, Crowd Energy foresees placing turbines with 30 meter diameters in staggered arrays deep underwater to generate energy on a utility scale. “We want to put large turbines below the storm surge so they can remain a reliable source of energy for decades at a time,” Todd Janca explained to Inhabitat. “Long-term reliability and survivability are key for Ocean Energy to be taken seriously.”

+ Crowd Energy

+ Ocean Energy Turbine Kickstarter Campaign

Images ©Crowd Energy

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  1. AlanR333 July 18, 2014 at 8:43 am

    This is an excellent idea.
    I have two principal questions

    1) What innovations are in prospect in relation to linking
    these sea-floor devices to distribution grids?

    2) What is the minimum flow rate required? Tidal Stream is
    generally uneconomic below 1.6m/sec and around UK channel
    flows are often at 1.2m/sec or less.

    A paradox of the UK predeliction for wind-farms is that the
    public are increasingly calling out for harnessing of tidal
    energy. The goodwill is present – how can it be effective?
    Turbine design is one thing, implementation on an industrial
    scale with grid connections is quite another.

    This is not a criticism – but a genuine question as to how the
    overall scenario can be achieved, not just the turbine part.

    Alan Rayner, UK
    EX39 2BA

  2. CrowdEnergy.org June 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Crowd Energy is getting ready to re-launch on Indiegogo. http://crowdenergy.org/indiegogo/

  3. Zeppflyer April 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Comparing this design, with its moving venetian blinds to other ones with simple rotors, I wonder how much more maintenance they would require. With flotsam and small animals getting stuck between those blades, they would quickly not be able to shut completely on their power strokes, reducing the efficiency of the system.

  4. intelligenzia April 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Innovative! and I see great potentials in its ability to supply electricity in a harmless and cleaner way in a world wide basis.

  5. Schuyler Smith April 7, 2014 at 9:35 am

    They should approach the government of Nova Scotia. There are huge grants for anyone who can harvest the tidal power of the Bay of Fundy, and the largest tides in the world.

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