Japan has turned to the oceans to produce continuous, reliable, and green energy. After years of development and testing in real conditions, the underwater power generator “Kairyu” (Seadragon?) will enter its commercial phase in the next decade.
Kairyu was a demonstrator designed to harness energy from underwater currents, distinct from tidal current generators. Underwater currents have a slower flow but can occur over a much larger area. That means more generators could be deployed, making the idea fully scalable.
In addition, at a depth of 50 meters, the generator is in a safer place than tidal generators. Japan is hit by a significant number of typhoons each year, which can create massive waves that could endanger generators.
Depth and orientation are maintained by controlled buoyancy and turbine blades that make it easy and energy efficient to remain stable or come to the surface for repairs and maintenance.
Every underwater project is fraught with challenges as the oceans continue to be a harsh place for hardware. However, the tests showed that this project and strategy could be one of the most cost-effective, reliable and scalable ways to harness clean energy.
It is much more efficient than wind power and would be immensely less intermittent than solar power. Japan is not an ideal place for solar power anyway, and tide generators are difficult to deploy because there is so much naval activity in Japan. Ultimately, these challenges led Japanese researchers to create a vastly better way.
Geek out with all the details from it IHI PDF document.
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