Recently we looked at kites that could harness the power of the wind in the place of turbines. Now we look at underwater kites that could harness the power of the waves. These kites are moored to the ocean floor and glide in deep, slow-moving currents.
The underwater power plant has been called Deep Green. At the moment these are just experimental generators, although in the future tidal energy like this could become as commercial as wind energy.
Swedish marine energy company Minesto is partnering with civil engineers Mclaughlin & Harvey and researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm to build the Deep Green plant.
The kites designed by Minesto have a 12 metre wingspan and an energy capacity of 500 kilowatts. They have to be anchored at a minimum depth of 60 metres to make sure they aren’t damaged by passing ships.
Stefan Björklund, an assistant professor in machine design at KTH, explained in an article on the KTH website that the kites are kept moving in a figure of eight to keep up their speed.
The Deep Green team are hoping to have a working 10 megawatt power station by 2019, with an underwater field of drifting kites.
On Design Indaba, we’ve also recently published articles about underwater vegetable gardens and underwater hotels. Perhaps one day there will be whole human civilisations living below the waves.
The Deep Green project has been awarded funding from KIC InnoEnergy and the European Regional Development Fund.