Offshore wind farms and tidal energy facilities harness the power of the wind and the ocean – but why should we have separate turbines for each task? Offshore technology company Mitsui is developing a hybrid wind-current power generating system that combines a floating vertical-axis wind turbine with an underwater turbine that generates power from ocean currents. The clever apparatus would cut down on material waste, and it could produce twice as much energy as a conventional wind turbine.

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Renewable energy developers strive for improved efficiency in the solar, wind and hydro power industries – and the hybrid wind-current system effectively doubles the efficiency of a typical wind or ocean current turbine. Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Company says the system will provide cost-effective power generation while having very little impact on the environment.

The turbines will be large in scale; according to NHK News, the wind turbine will be 47 meters (154 feet), and the underwater portion will have a diameter of 15 meters (49 feet). The turbines will be tested off the coast of Japan later this year. If they work as well as advertised, each turbine could generate enough energy to power 300 households.

+ Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Company

Via CBS News