Solar and wind turbines on vessels?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by emrtr4, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    I did not say it was a conspiracy. That is your term. What I am talking about is the natural outcome of vested interests investing huge amounts over long periods of time in lobbying legislators to influence the regulatory structure and permissions required to establish competing technologies. In business terms we call it barriers to entry. This is part of the studies required to get a master degree in business, which I have completed.

    To this point countries like Cuba and India have had neither the engineering resources nor the capital to take any risks. Only wealthy countries can afford that. I understand that you are an educated man, but if you think that vested interests do not deter their competitors then your education in business and economics may not be up to your education in mathematics.

    Respectfully,
    Jonathan
     
  2. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    I don't doubt that vested interests can and do manipulate situations
    to their own advantage in many countries. And there's no doubt that
    they can behave scandalously and sometimes in an underhand manner in
    the USA and elsewhere.

    I also believe that they buy up what they might see as *genuine*
    competition.
    Over 30 years ago I visited a patent office in Australia to see who
    actually owned patents on a large number of innovative batteries that
    I had heard about, but that had never seen the light of day.
    "They've been bought up by big oil and hidden away", said my friends
    and colleagues.
    I didn't believe them then, but they were absolutely correct:
    Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and several other companies owned dozens
    of patents. But most were quite open about it. They didn't hide
    behind secret names, although it would have been easy for them to
    do so.

    So, yes, I have seen evidence that vested interests not only act to
    deter competitors, but when they see threats, they eliminate them if
    they can, sometimes openly, sometimes sneakily.

    The developers of the system you have followed for 20 years, claim that
    they can't raise about $100m or $200m for another prototype because of
    some nebulous bias against them by vested interests. They present no
    credible evidence for that, and it makes them sound like bitter
    crackpots.

    Why should a company risk millions of dollars on building a prototype
    that might not work, or that might not be as good as similar devices
    by other innovators?
    Sea SolarPower offer the following reasons (among others) that
    they have not attracted the requisite $'s to build their prototype.

    * Energy independence not considered an urgent national policy goal.
    * Global warming not taken seriously.
    * An acceptable and non-threatening price of oil until 2005.

    Sounds reasonable, if a little wishy-washy.

    * Powerful lobbyists who may see OTE as a threat to interests they
    represent.

    Indeed they may. Of course, investors might also see the device as
    too risky on the advice of *independent* consultants, or that similar
    systems by other developers might be better. I guess that sort of
    negativity wouldn't make it to the Sea Solarpower's web page.
    Would that also be manipulation of the facts by a vested interest?
    But maybe it's acceptable because they're the good-guys saving the
    planet.

    * Lack of knowledge by policy makers, members of congress, and
    investors of OTE’s viability.

    Can't argue too much with the first two; the third sounds like
    special pleading.

    * Considered too good to be true. This idea implies that OTE is easy.
    Although OTE is the obvious renewable choice, there are challenges.

    It's "the obvious renewable choice"? What a load of of malarkey!

    In your reply you left Japan out of the three countries that I gave as
    examples. Did they not fit your theory?

    Tokyo Electric tested the Sea SolarPower system on Nauru in the 1980's.
    Is it still going? Unfortunately, the url Sea SolarPower provide is dead
    so we can't see the final report.

    Now, how about China, Spain, Italy, France and many other energy-poor
    modern economies. They certainly have the engineering resources and
    money. Have they all been duped and twisted by vested interests?
    Or can we only include countries that fit your theory?

    "In business terms we call it barriers to entry. This is part of the
    studies required to get a master degree in business, which I have
    completed."

    And I'm almost sure you passed. Well done! (if you did).
     
  3. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Not all tide energy needs to be expensive, or come from corp. labs.

    Have a friend that built a fine battery charging system that worked , although the good tidal flow is only a few hours a day.

    On the after deck of his boat he mounted a scrap car front spindle complete with a wheel that had the tire removed.

    The power source was 150ft of old fire hose sewn end to end to form a big loop,with flaps of plywood hand sewn on . The flaps would open to about 60deg when in the current and flatten out when on the return trip.

    The fire hose simply passed over the wheel , the water pull and weight of the trailing hose was enough to spin the wheel , hard enough so foot pressure had a hard time stopping it. 2K current at max flow.

    A 35A alternator was belted off the wheel, to feed the batts.

    Not great for lighting a city , but it could run a refrigeration unit , back in the good old days of open compressors and 12v DC belted refrigeration motors.

    KISS + Cold Beer !

    FF
     
  4. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    One proven source of energy while a vessel is stationary is the use of temperature differentials in water layers.

    Water temp in warm areas near the surface say around 14 deg C, while 100 feet below, is down to 4 deg C.

    This can power a multitude of temp differential engines, many of which have been discussed on this site.
     
  5. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    'cept if you are moving, very difficult to keep "suction" down to that depth or inlet pipe large enough (not to mention pump) to make the flow and energy differential worth the effort...
     
  6. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    "Using the temperature of water to make energy actually dates back to 1881, when a French Engineer by the name of Jacques D'Arsonval first thought of using ocean thermal energy gradients. His student, Georges Claude, built the first OTEC plant in Cuba in 1930, producing 22 kilowatts of electricity with a low-pressure turbine."

    From: The World Ocean Observatory

    Also from there:

    Potential Downsides of Ocean Energy

    ....these energy systems are not without cost.

    First, there are the prospective ecological impacts. Constructing and operating facilities will undoubtedly have environmental costs, as will diverting, moving, or variously treating large volumes of seawater. Facilities will be generating their own pollution and wastes, including light pollution. Wind turbines and underwater turbines generate noise, which is a newfound concern of marine conservationists (see Exporting Pollution in the June isse of the World Ocean Observer). And removal of nonrenewable resources such as methane hydrates and renewable ones like algae may alter both the geology or oceanography and the ecology of some marine areas.

    Underlying all of these ecological unknowns is the primary, unassailable fact that surveillance, monitoring, and protection of offshore facilities are infinitely more difficult than on land. This also means that security is more challenging, and energy plants may be more vulnerable to sabotage.

    Converting the energy the oceans harbor is a technological puzzle that has been largely solved by enterprising engineers and scientists equipped with ever more sophisticated tools. But supplying that energy to users remains a daunting challenge. Energy is lost as it is brought from offshore onshore, and most large scale facilities are put as far offshore as possible to minimize conflicts with other ocean users.

    Entrepreneurs face huge hurdles as well, which has resulted in constrained ocean energy development. In most developed countries the regulatory burden is immense, and the complexity of jurisdictions is reflected in a corollary complexity in obtaining the necessary permits for even demonstration projects. Recognizing these disincentives, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced a proposal to shorten the permitting process for pilot ocean energy projects to as little as six months.

    Finally, an inadequately informed public has sometimes resisted (and in some cases even blocked) the development of new sustainable energy technologies at sea, despite the fact that the alternative -- i.e. continued reliance on conventional energy sources -- is likely to have far greater impacts on the environment of the oceans.


    Cheers.
     
  7. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    ... which is why I said 'stationary', as was the original proposition for this thread. The energy for the pumping is all part of the equation - and is more than compensated for by the energy produced.

    The other thing that interests me is the number of 'hot spots' found around the ocean, just have a look at the volcanic spots on 'Google Earth' to get an idea. I wonder what the increase in production would be using this thermal energy?

    Could a supertanker pull up at a volcanic 'hot spot' for two weeks and generate a huge amount of hydrogen or other compound from the energy during a period of fine weather? Maybe it would be an economic proposition to just generate fresh water for a major city? 300,000 tonnes at $2000 per megalitre is over half a million dollars of water.
     
  8. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    I almost said Oops, but re-read the initial post - mobility seems implicit in the concept questioned... But such is life:D
     
  9. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    Thanks Guillermo for that factual rap up of the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion reality.

    Is there some inborn perversity in human nature that remains stubbornly resistive to technological solutions even when it might be in our best interest? I actually think that a lot of people are not able to accept a future that is different from what they already know. I also think that many are unwilling to do the work to be informed. And certainly the unwillingness of vested interests to shake up their economic advantages does not help. I wonder what would happen if common sense ruled?

    I think we would see Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) platforms that would be covered with flat plate solar thermal collectors that would increase the temperature differential, making OTEC much more efficient. Then the energy generated would be used to electrolyse the sea water which is already an electrolyte in order to fill tankers with hydrogen that could be delivered to standard gas turbines close to the shore for generating electricity through the standard combustion cycle. Less efficient than fuel cells, but it could be done now with conventional technology and low risk factors. And the insurance companies already have enough information about such techologies to be able to provide the underpinning of any risk management strategy - insurance.
     
  10. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "Could a supertanker pull up at a volcanic 'hot spot' for two weeks."

    Perhaps, but the current charter rate is over $30,000 per day so two weeks is a lot of cash!!!!

    FF
     
  11. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    "...... but I am interested in energy sources that can create power while the vessel is moored or anchored. "

    No - its an OOPs moment!

    Even then, the math seems do-able - lets allow $30k per day for a supertanker, for say 14 days thats $420,0000 -so maybe little profit - but if they were doing a high value product like some sort of hydrogen compound - it would be much more feasible.

    A by-product of having a permanent processing plant that the supertankers pulled up to (bit like an oil rig) is that all the nutrients brought to the surface during the pumping exercise evidently promote a lot of fish, a bit of a side benefit that could help the cashflow.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2008
  12. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    Actually, what you are describing is the inverse of normal Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. Normally it is cold water that is pumped to the surface to condense a working fluid that is heated by the surface waters. In this case it is heated water that is in the deep. Maybe you would lower the turbine to the heated water source, and then pump cooler water from above downward, which should be very efficient since cooler water should tend to sink in warmer water. The cooler water would still act to condense the working fluid of the turbine. Perhaps the cooler water could be procurred from a lateral position not too far away. Maybe this whole operation should be undertaken by a surplus nuclear submarine?:cool:
     
  13. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Yes, thats true - assuming the hotspot is a long way underwater.
    Generally however, the volcano is above or very close to the surface of the water to be a candidate in the scenario I was envisaging. So this would provide very hot water at or near the surface where the turbine is, and still require pumping cold water from the depths.

    The 'reverse' scenario would be a bit of a technical challenge, having to submerge the generator, but not impossible.
     

  14. JonathanCole
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    JonathanCole imagineer

    That would be ideal to have the heat source close to the surface. Here in Hawaii, we have a new volcano, Loihi, forming 30 miles to the south of the big island. It is still 3000 feet or so below the surface. There have also been many hot vents discovered in deep ocean trenches. I guess that's why my thoughts immediately went in the deep direction.
     
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