Health Care

Vast and efficient ocean wind farms 'could power human civilisation'

Vast and efficient ocean wind farms 'could power human civilisation'

The study authors Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira, writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, declared: "On an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world". In doing so, they found that the wind currents blowing over the area are capable of generating some 70 percent higher speed than those breezing over land.

Wind turbines continuously remove kinetic energy from the lower troposphere, thereby reducing the wind speed near hub height.

Finally, wind turbines need to be created to withstand high wind speeds. The research concludes that some offshore farms generate at least three times more power than the ones on land.

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have discovered something rather remarkable about wind farms - we've apparently been doing it wrong.

"Even in the relative calm of summer, the upper geophysical limit on sustained wind power in the North Atlantic alone could be sufficient to supply all of Europe's electricity", the report reads.

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"The question was, is there something about the atmosphere or the ocean that allows it to bring down more wind energy to wind farms?"

The researchers said that the offshore wind power, however, would vary according to the seasons.

The team used computer models to compare the output of existing land-based wind farms in Kansas to huge, theoretical facilities out in the open ocean. "The rate of electricity generation in large wind farms containing multiple wind arrays is, therefore, constrained by the rate of kinetic energy replenishment from the atmosphere above", says the abstract of the article.

While Australian political leaders bicker over renewable energy policy, scientists claim the world's entire power needs could be met by a single deep sea wind farm. However, in this study, we show that considerably higher power generation rates may be sustainable over some open ocean areas. This contrast in surface warming along the US coast drives the frequent generation of cyclones or low-pressure systems, that cross the Atlantic and are very efficient in drawing the upper atmosphere's energy down to the height of the turbines.

According to the researchers, the huge wind power resources identified in the study can provide strong incentives to develop lower-cost technologies that can operate in the open-ocean environment and transmit the electricity to land.

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