NASA develops tech to turn ocean tides into energy
NASA says ocean temperature, motion create a high-pressure fluid that generates energy
Computerworld - NASA scientists say they've found a way to turn the power of the ocean's tides into clean, renewable electric energy.
NASA is working to use changes in ocean temperature to create a high-pressure fluid that can be used to generate power. The new technology is an offshoot of work NASA has been doing to power underwater robotic vehicles, according to the space agency.
"This type of hydraulic energy transfer system is potentially applicable to many types of hydrokinetic energy from rivers, ocean waves, tides and currents," said Yi Chao, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. Scientists can use computer models of winds, river flows, ocean currents and tides to calculate an area's potential for energy production, he added.
Chao and Jack Jones, an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that NASA engineers have designed a system that uses water temperature and motion to generate a high-pressure liquid rather than electricity. That liquid, according to NASA, is then transported to shore and used to produce electricity on land.
"The trick was to find a special substance known as a phase-change material that changes from a solid to a liquid as the temperature in the environment changes from cold to warm," Chao says. "When the material melts, it expands, compressing a central tube in which another liquid is stored. This liquid, now under high pressure, is used to generate electricity."
With increasing concern about global warming, researchers around the globe, like those at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA, have been working to find new sources of clean, renewable energy.
Earlier this month, a group of researchers at MIT developed an out-of-the-ordinary solar-powered race car that isn't dependent at all on gasoline. The car, dubbed Eleanor, can maintain a cruising speed of 55 mph and run all day -- if the sun is shining, according to MIT.
The car is just the latest solar research effort touted by the Cambridge, Mass., university.
Last December, MIT researchers announced that they were working to boost the output and efficiency of solar cells to lower the cost of solar power by drastically cutting the need for pricey, high-quality silicon.
And last August, MIT reported that a team of researchers there had made an energy storage breakthrough that could transform solar power from an alternative source of energy to a mainstream option. And a month earlier, MIT announced that its researchers had created a new way to harness the sun's energy by turning windows of large buildings into solar panels.
California Institute of Technology, which operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA, holds the patent on the new technology involving phase-change material.
Read more about App Development in Computerworld's App Development Topic Center.
- HTTP Status Code Cheat Sheet Look at the Graph, Find the Code and Boom - You're Solving Problems. Identifying and understanding common HTTP status codes can go a...
- 10 Steps to Application and Network Performance Nirvana 10 simple steps that network operations teams can take to ensure that applications and underlying infrastructure can both be tuned for maximum performance.
- Application Performance Management for Dummies Application performance management helps deliver the application performance users and the business demand. Effectively monitoring and troubleshooting application performance issues requires a comprehensive...
- IDC Report: Optimize IT and Business Gains This IDC Whitepaper outlines how CIOs can understand what the "total cost of data" is across their entire organization and how Delphix can...
- Cloud and Collaboration: Driving Your Business Value Mission Critical Cloud from Peer 1 Hosting is enterprise-grade.
- Peer 1's Mission Critical Cloud: Your Cloud, Your Way Peer 1 Hosting's Mission Critical Cloud offers the ultimate in flexible customization of infrastructure, resources and support. All App Development White Papers | Webcasts