One the greatest untapped energy resources in the world is the motion of the ocean. And while floating wind turbines and wave-powered generators are being explored throughout the world, there still remains one largely untapped power source, the underwater ocean currents. Well researchers at the Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology have developed what they believe is a technology to allow them to use the Gulf Stream currents that could conceivably cover all of Florida’s energy needs.
The idea is to have underwater turbines placed right in the middle of the Gulf Stream current. The turbines are designed to be about 100 feet in diameter. These will be connected to a buoy that holds the electricity generating equipment. The gulf stream carries billions of gallons per minute, so the impact of these turbines would be minimal if negligible to the current itself.
Now granted, installing all these turbines will take time and significant research, which is why the team is hard at work developing a considerably smaller prototype version that they hope will provide them with enough data to assess whether installing such a system will have an impact in the ocean current, and, just as importantly, all the sealife moving through the area. The prototype will launch in February 2008.