Japan Builds Giant Turbine that Uses Deep Ocean Currents to Generate Electricity

Alt: = "IHI Corp Giant Turbine"

Since after the devastating nuclear meltdown at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011, the government has been searching for new sources of green energy — and they're leaving no stone unturned.

IHI Corp, a heavy machinery maker in Japan has successfully tested a prototype of a massive, airplane-sized turbine that has the capacity to generate electricity from powerful deep sea ocean currents, laying the foundation for a promising new source of renewable energy that doesn't rely on either Sun or wind, Bloomberg reports.

The deep sea power plant prototype called Kairyu weighs in at 330 tons. It has two counter-rotating turbine fans connected by a massive fuselage, which enables the entire apparatus to float while anchored to the sea floor, hovering between 100 and 160 feet below the surface, Futurism reports.

It draws energy from one of the world's strongest ocean currents, off the eastern coast of Japan, to spin its mighty turbines.

According to Bloomberg report, IHI Corp was able to generate about 100 kilowatts of stable power during demonstrations earlier this year.

The company is hoping to generate 2 megawatts, during future tests, with the hopes of commencing commercial operations in the 2030s.

Outside this, Japan is still exploring other ways to generate energy from the sea, including tidal power and ocean thermal energy conversion, the latter of which generates electricity by using the temperature differential between cold and warm ocean water.

Marine energy analyst, Angus McCrone says the challenge facing  engineers now is how to scale the operation to a point where it general energy in economic quantity, which is not an easy task.

"The biggest issue for ocean current turbines is whether they could produce a device that would generate power economically out of currents that are not particularly strong," Angus McCrone, marine energy analyst, told Bloomberg.

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