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Could Florida draw power from the ocean? Christian Science Monitor highlights research by Haas, Fritz

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Christian Science Monitor highlighted work Dec. 4 by Kevin Haas and Hermann Fritz that evaluated the power-producing potential of ocean currents.

The 2013 study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, found 4 GW to 6 GW of potential power that could be harnessed from the Gulf Stream off Florida’s coast — more if the area expands to include the entire portion of the powerful current within 200 miles of the United States coastline.

The Monitor presented the study as background in a story on a startup company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, trying to build large underwater turbines to harness the energy.

(Read about Haas’ related work developing a turbine to harness power from coastal tides.)

More from the news outlet’s Bryan Cronan:

When people think about renewable energy, they often imagine solar panels and towering wind turbines. These sources of clean power are great for certain places, but shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require tapping into many sources of power. The sun doesn’t shine at night, the wind doesn’t always blow, but deep ocean currents could provide continuous renewable power to coastal areas across the United States.

To make ocean current turbine farms a reality, Crowd Energy needs to test its design in the open water. So, Crowd Energy is trying to raise $1 million on Indiegogo to finish the research and to move the technology closer to commercial use.

“Crowd Energy’s technology has a huge amount of potential,” says John Wank, the chief operating officer of Solutions Project, a non-profit group, co-founded by actor Mark Ruffalo, to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. “They have to do some testing to see if the technology will scale. If it can, it will be a game changer.”