The Secrets of Tidal Energy: How Does It Work?

 Tidal energy has huge potential to power many homes and businesses, but most people have never really stopped to ask themselves how it works.

The Secrets of Tidal Energy: How Does It Work?
The Secrets of Tidal Energy: How Does It Work?


The Secrets of Tidal Energy: How Does It Work?

While there are different methods of harnessing tidal energy, all of them involve taking advantage of the ocean’s unique properties in order to produce electricity. Here’s everything you need to know about the process behind tidal energy and its potential benefits on future society.


What is tide

  • Tides are natural phenomena that are caused by the gravitational pull between the Earth and the Moon.
  • The Moon's gravity tugs on Earth's oceans, pulling some water out to sea. As this bulge of water travels away from shore, its weight causes Earth's crust to go slightly out of shape - with one side being a bit higher than the other.
  • Meanwhile, as this high-lying water moves farther away from shore, it slows down due to friction with ocean floor rocks and becomes lower again.
  • This cycle repeats endlessly because oceans are deep enough for their height to change; there is always an area that is experiencing high tide while another is going through low tide at any given time.


Different Types of Tide Turbines

• Offshore Wave Turbines generate electricity by capturing the kinetic energy from the motion of ocean waves. Many companies are developing such technology and a new device called the Powerbuoy is planned to produce more than two megawatts at specific sites along Europe's coastlines. o A single 1MW offshore turbine can provide enough power for 8,000 homes. 

• Underwater Flow Turbines are stationary devices which exploit the velocity differential between seawater flowing in and out with tides to produce rotational power.


Comparison Between Tides and Waves

Though some may consider tides and waves to be the same, they are actually very different. Though both involve water, waves are created by wind whereas tides are a result of the gravitational pull between the moon and earth. As a result, it is possible for water to flow in a different direction with each tide change.


In addition, waves typically have higher crests while tides have an extremely even level which helps keep it from spilling over into nearby waters. In contrast, if too much power is concentrated on one area (think hurricane), then a tsunami can be formed which will create devastating effects depending on its magnitude.


Commercial Use of Tides

One way that tides can be harnessed is through underwater turbines which convert tidal energy into electrical power. These turbines work in a similar way to wind turbines, where the rotation blades generate electricity when they are pulled towards the water. Due to the powerful movements in waves, these kinds of turbines are usually attached to anchors or cables onshore and directly below the surface. As waves cause the turbine blades to rotate, so does an electric generator located at its base, which produces electricity when it is connected to a power grid by cables.


Low Maintenance Power Source

Tides are a natural, inexhaustible source of energy that has been recognized for over 100 years. The gravitational force from the sun and moon is constantly attracting water to create tides - the so-called ocean's heartbeat. Tide power can generate clean, renewable electricity in either a hydropower plant or an offshore wind turbine. These plants typically need very little maintenance as long as they remain on the coast and maintain their connection to the grid.


Example Countries with Advanced Programs

With tidal energy, the location, depth and tidal current will all play a role in how much power can be harnessed. For example, Scotland is well-suited for tidal energy because the current in Scotland is consistent and fast. Countries with advanced programs include the United Kingdom (which generates two percent of its electricity using these systems), India (generating 3.1 gigawatts) and Canada (which has invested heavily in this industry).

A variety of studies have shown that while tidal power production fluctuates with tides throughout the day and year, it's currently on par with or better than other renewable energy sources like wind or solar power - and more reliable.

SOURCE : Yasoquiz




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