10 Ways Technology Makes Offshore Renewable Energy Possible
- Jan 12, 2021 4:27 pm GMT
Have you heard about offshore renewable energy? This fossil fuel alternative harnesses wind power at sea. The turbines are located offshore to capture the ocean’s steady breezes as a way to create energy. It’s a noteworthy solution, especially for coastal states, which generate 80% of the electricity demand in America.
Here’s a look at how technology makes offshore renewable energy possible.
1. Scaling Large Enough Turbines
The most significant hurdle for offshore wind has been size. If you can’t build large enough turbines, you won’t effectively and efficiently capture energy. Fortunately, it’s become possible to scale turbines that fit those requirements.
Take General Electric’s Haliade-X turbine as an example. It has a rotor larger than two football fields put together. By itself, Haliade-X can power 12,000 homes. This technology has the potential to make offshore renewable energy more mainstream.
2. Measuring Capacity Factor
This point goes hand in hand with size. It’s no longer enough to measure capacity as a whole. There instead has been a focus on individual turbine capacity. The process becomes more economical when you can use fewer turbines with greater capacities to capture wind and generate power.
Teams use technology like underwater drones to ensure turbines operate correctly. This tactic helps industry leaders keep capacity their number one priority. It’s also helpful for research purposes.
3. Transporting via Ships and Barges
It’s hard to say where we’d be without ships and barges. Transportation makes offshore renewable energy possible. These vessels face fewer obstacles than trucks. Plus, they’re large enough to transport bigger turbines — and that’s essential for capacity.
4. Deploying Undersea Cables
How does the energy from turbines get to land? There’s a system of cables that runs across the ocean floor. These wires connect with grids that distribute power to buildings everywhere.
The invention of autonomous underwater vehicles makes undersea cable maintenance possible without direct human supervision.
5. Duplicating Individual Components
Reliability has to be a top priority. That’s what every industry leader strives for when they develop energy sources. You can’t have turbines work only half the time, right? By duplicating individual components inside turbines, they’re less likely to fail.
6. Navigating Deep Waters
Another challenge surrounding offshore renewable energy has been location. It takes extra work to construct a turbine at sea — especially when you consider how far out workers need to place them. That’s why creative solutions are necessary.
These answers currently include special equipment like boats with hydraulic arms and high-performance cranes.
7. Building Floating Platforms
You’d think the force from waves would knock turbines over. The seafloor isn’t exactly stable. That means we need innovation to realize offshore renewable energy’s full potential. Technology like turbines that float will help solve this issue.
8. Maximizing System Installation
We need to be able to produce several turbines at once. That goal might seem unrealistic when considering how large turbines need to be for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. There’s also a problem surrounding installations.
Innovations like floating platforms should help. We can also use 3D printing to completely conceptualize builds before they’re set in motion. This technology ensures that we implement the best working turbines from the beginning.
9. Inventing New Models
If we make more turbine models, we’ll be able to expand our reach. There are currently two kinds of turbines — horizontal-axis and vertical-axis turbines. These versions use different blade types to generate power. It’s even likely that turbines without any blades could provide another option.
10. Picking Lucrative Spots
How do researchers pick the right spots for turbines? Technology like hydrographic sonar survey methods helps professionals locate the most lucrative locations. They consider everything from distance to habitats to ensure they make the best choice possible.
These Innovations Help Offshore Renewable Energy Become Achievable
There’s no way around it. We wouldn’t be able to access offshore renewable energy without technology. From building turbines to transporting parts, it’s all thanks to various innovations that this type of energy has become more accessible.
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