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As the name suggests, the energy generated from the oceans is called ocean energy. They have immense benefits in the human lives. In the following article let us go through the different forms of ocean energy, their way of generation and usage in the day to day life

Ocean generated energy

The ocean can produce two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun’s heat, also known as Solar Energy, and Mechanical Energy from the tides and waves. These energies are non-polluting, reliable, and very predictable.

Oceans cover more than 70% of Earth’s surface, making them the world’s largest solar collectors. The land surface gets more heated due to the rays from the sun. Whereas water stays comparatively less warm, and this temperature difference creates thermal energy. This is interesting to note that just a small portion of the heat trapped in the ocean could power the world.

When it comes to mechanical energy, there are again two types of energies: wave and tide energy. Ocean mechanical energy is quite different from the thermal energy. Wave energy is caused by many factors, for example, the gravitational pull of the moon, creating waves, and the wind, which causes movement by creating ripples in the water. Kinetic Energy is the one created by the movement.

The trapping tides are the source of tidal energy creation.  As the tides rise on shower they can be trapped in reservoirs that exist behind dams. Then as the tides drop, we can let the contained water behind these dams out.  Once in the dams, the water can be churned and create currents.

Ocean Energy

Image Credits: Alternative Energy Tutorials

Advantages and Disadvantages of Oceanic Energy

Usage of the ocean and tidal energies could immensely benefit us and the health of our earth.  All renewable energies are inexhaustible sources, meaning humans would never run out of these renewable energies to create power. One of the widely used sourced of energy is fuel. But it produces produce greenhouse gases or waste products. However, ocean energy is beneficial in that way. Since it is renewable, it doesn’t require any fuels to create. Power plants creating tidal energy last a long time. They last longer than traditional power plants and last longer than traditional energy sources. Once the technology is designed, it doesn’t involve any more investment or money in future. Hence in long term, it is a cheaper resource.

Ocean energy would help but there are also some drawbacks to using this type of renewable energy.  The major bottleneck is that it can only supply power for about 10 hours a day because of the pattern of the tides. Hence there is stringency in the timeline. Machines and technologies which are required to generate ocean energy are very expensive. If tidal energy is used, the technology is often used is tidal barrages, and there are very specific locations to build these barrages. Also intense and massive waves may result in severe damage to some technologies used to create ocean energy. Locations for machinery are also limited by frozen ocean areas.

Who used the ocean energy first?

Creating energy from the ocean was discovered by a curious man named Monsieur Girard and his son from France in 1799.  Monsieur Girard constructed the first way to harness ocean energy by using a ship.  Girard attached the ship to the shore using a lever and abused the ocean’s waves motion to rock the ship. This, in turn, drove machines that existed on the shore. About 100 years later, this idea of energy was analyzed even more. A man discovered a way to generate electricity using energy in the form of heat that existed in the oceans. Few powerplants that used his method were made close to his discovery. After many years, in 1966, a tidal power plant using his ideas exists in Bretagne, France.  This power plant is still used today!

Future of ocean energy

Wave energy has a great potential to become a major renewable energy source in the future.  In order to improve the technology and durability of the equipment, future research and development are needed. Also to identify, reduce, and potentially mitigate the negative impacts that this technology has on marine life and the human use and enjoyment of the sea, more advanced equipment and technologies are required.

Interesting facts about ocean energy

One of the world’s most suitable sites is the estuary of the river Rance located in western France. Here the difference between high and low tides is 8.17 meters on an average which may be peaking at 13.5 meters during the equinoxes. The new US Energy Bill has recognized ocean energy. Henceforth the US Department of Energy is paying attention to its hydro capacity toward ocean energy. Ten million terra-watt hours of electricity per year is what an ocean energy generates.  According to the survey of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Ho, 2003), the global reserve of ocean energy was 73.6 TW, out of around 40 TW was OTEC. With the increase in the numbers of devices produced, per offshore development, the cost of ocean energy systems will reduce. To make large-scale deployment commercially viable, the devices need to be arranged in an array

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