1) Sustainability Area: Energy
Problem: Alternative source for renewable energy.
- The blades of this five-blade turbine are made of a soft material and they rotate on their axis when influenced by ocean waves
- the diameter of the turbine is about 0.7 meters. The axis is attached to a permanent magnet electric generator, which is the part of the turbine that transforms the ocean wave energy into usable electricity.
- The ceramic mechanical seal protects the electrical components inside of the body from any saltwater leakage.
- This design allows the turbine to function for ten years before it need replacing.
- “Using just 1% of the seashore of mainland Japan to harness sea wave energy can [generate] about 10 gigawats [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants,” Professor Shintake, who develops the turbine explains. “That’s huge.”
- The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) researchers launched The Wave Energy Converter (WEC) project in 2013.
- It involves placing turbines at key locations near the shoreline, such as nearby tetrapods or among coral reefs which are used as wave breaker, to generate energy.
- Each location allows the turbines to be exposed to ideal wave conditions that allow them not only to generate clean and renewable energy, but also to help protect the coasts from erosion while being affordable for those with limited funding and infrastructure.
- The turbines themselves are built to withstand the forces thrust upon them during harsh wave conditions as well as extreme weather, such as a typhoon.
- The blade design and materials are inspired by dolphin fins — they are flexible, and thus able to release stress rather than remain rigid and risk breakage.
- The supporting structure is also flexible, “like a flower,” Professor Shintake explains. “The stem of a flower bends back against the wind,” and so, too, do the turbines bend along their anchoring axes.
- They are also built to be safe for surrounding marine life — the blades rotate at a carefully calculated speed that allows creatures caught among them to escape.
- Now, Professor Shintake and the Unit researchers have completed the first steps of this project and are preparing to install the turbines — half-scale models, with 0.35-meter diameter turbines — for their first commercial experiment. T
- The project includes installing two WEC turbines that will power LEDs for a demonstration.
- Industry partners
- Policy makers
- Community around the seashore (including fishery, resort business around the sea area)
<Comment on Warka Tower >
Warka Tower can also generate electrical energy from sunlight. It be equipped with innovative solar panels produced by the Basilian company Sunew. The technology is based on Organic Photovoltaics, also known as OPV (Organic Photovoltaics) and the product is a thin film, light, flexible and transparent.
Fall 2017 – Week 4