Friday, January 17, 2014

Wind power through concrete spheres

Most of us want cleaner energy.  There may be a way to get that through concrete spheres.

Wind power is often touted as a clean and efficient means of providing power.  But the common complaint or rub to such a system seems to be "what do you do when the wind isn't blowing?"  Getting electricity half the time or less is not useful to a city.  I had enough of that in Haiti, thanks.

A team of researchers at MIT might have a solution.  Take a series of concrete spheres with wind turbines and anchor the concrete out in the ocean.  The wind blows and the turbines turn, sending electricity to the power grid.  A portion of the energy, however, is used to pump seawater out of the sphere.  When the wind dies down, the pumps stop and the sphere refills.  The influx of water into the now hollow sphere turns the turbine once more.  Again, electricity is produced.

Not bad.  Pretty good, really.  Anything that provides a pathway to clean, sustainable power generation is worthy of examination, at least to this pinko, anyway.  It is of course still early on in the design process so it remains to be seen how much power can be generated.  Being a writer, my mind tends to take concepts like this one and kick them into tangential arenas (do all creatives harbor misology on one level or another?  Or at least an aversion to pragmatism?  Dunno.)

I can envision a contemporary community up in arms over the "eyesore" of concrete spheres anchored off the coast of their beachfront property.  Would the spheres require an "aesthetically pleasing" design?  I guess it would depend just how far out to sea the spheres would be placed.  I'm also seeing a cyberpunk novel here.

For whatever reason, Bruce Sterling's Islands in the Net really comes to mind.

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