Thursday, April 9, 2009

FAU moves to create energy from Gulf Stream

All the energy that is produced by the oceans and the sun is often considered wasted and we are unable to tap into this vast resource. As the following article and video link shows, we are taking exciting steps for changes for the future.

But this is also proof that there is not one single answer to our energy needs that can handle demands across the country and the world.

Please read this article below by Kimberly Miller and then watch the follow up video. Click on title to link to article.

FAU moves to create energy from Gulf Stream

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
The long awaited first step in generating clean energy from the powerful Gulf Stream has been taken by Florida Atlantic University researchers with the sinking of Dopple- equiped measuring devices off the coast of Dania Beach.

Officials from FAU's Center for Ocean Energy Technology, which has received about $15 million in state and federal grants, had originally hoped to have an experimental windmill-like turbine spinning in the energy dense current in the fall of 2007.

But stymied by permitting from government agencies unsure of how to handle the unique project, progress was delayed until Feb. 27 when scientists deployed four giant buoys anchored to the ocean bottom and each connected to an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler.

The profilers range in depth from 725 feet to 2,116 feet, and are between five and 22 miles from the coast. Although the Gulf Stream is generally clocked at about 5-knots, the speed differs by depth and closeness to shore.

The data will prepare researchers for what to expect when a 10-foot in diameter test turbine is deployed - something they hope to do in the fall.
"We're finally getting some really important things done," said Howard Hanson, an FAU geosciences professor and scientific director for the Dania Beach-based center. "It's no secret the Gulf Stream has been studied for decades, but no one's ever studied it in terms of putting a turbine in it."

FAU's goal is to prove that creating energy from the Gulf Stream is a feasible enterprise, and one that could attract private companies to test and develop more advanced technology.

As part of the project, the center is also creating a national open-ocean energy laboratory that will act as a permanent floating base of operations for testing hydrokinetic devices.

FAU's center is a favorite of Gov. Charlie Crist who got $8.75 million for it into last year's budget. The money added to $5 million in state funding awarded in 2006.
The program also recently garnered the attention of the federal government, receiving $1.2 million last month from the omnibus appropriations act of 2009.

Although progress has been slow, Hanson said it's given researchers time to consider other impacts the turbine may have in the ocean, including on fish and sea turtles.
"By doing this a little more methodically, we can address all of the issues," Hanson said.

Link to video is below.
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