Tidal energy — a renewable, predictable resource available up and down America’s coastlines — holds great promise for clean energy generation. And now, a first of its kind database gives researchers deeper insight into the potential of this energy resource for the United States.
The online database, developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology in cooperation with the Energy Department, maps the energy available in the nation’s tidal streams. Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Savannah campus used the Regional Ocean Model to simulate tidal flows along the entire U.S. coastline, which is marked by thousands of streams, rivers and bays subject to daily tides. The Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory validated the model’s accuracy and the resulting data are now publicly available.
A map generated by Georgia Tech’s tidal energy resource database shows mean current speed of tidal streams |
Source: Georgia Institute of TechnologyBasic technology for harnessing tidal energy is straightforward — as tides ebb and flow, the current flow is transferred to the turbine as mechanical energy, which the device converts to electricity. A variety of conversion devices are currently being proposed or are under active development.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy