ANSWERS: 1
  • There are several reasons why it doesn't exist presently, but you could be the first one to overcome those challenges! 1. No one lives in the ocean, so transmission of generated power is a challenge. 2. Generators don't get along well with salt water, especially that which is filled with microscopic sea life. The brininess of the water tends to cause rapid deterioration of moving parts. This is combated on naval vessels by using sacrificial zinc, which sailors can replace, but, since no one is manning an underwater generator 24/7, this is an additional challenge. 3. If you remove the power from the ocean currents, it causes there to be less ocean current, which results in climate change. There is no free energy, only energy that is being used for one purpose instead of another. By using the ocean currents to generate electricity, you deplete the kinetic energy that those currents carry. Maybe a little bit has negligible impact on the environment, but, at some tipping point, it would have serious consequences. Since we are terrestrial beings in a terrestrial society, our understanding of ocean current and their impact on the environment is less developed than our understanding of wind currents. 4. Building a turbine is expensive. The hydroelectric generators are very expensive, and those can be installed where they can be directly monitored, and those almost always deal with fresh water. Building the same thing, but out of high-tech chemically-resistant materials, then installing it underwater by a SCUBA construction crew in high pressure suits off of a floating construction raft in the middle of the ocean, building a floating concrete batch plant in the ocean to supply such a place, and then maintaining that equipment as well as hundreds of miles of transmission lines to a coastal or near-coastal management plant would not only be cost ineffective with today's technology, it'd be ridiculously expensive. Maybe someone like Elon Musk would give it a go, since he's used to taking gigantic financial risks.
    • Qagidi
      Before 1969 people believed space travel was the realm of fiction writes. I know engineers will need to explore suitable materials from which to build the turbines. Maintenance also will have its challengers and we will need a few ingenious engineers here too. But non of these are insurmountable obstacles, just ones that will be an exciting challenge. Costs? Compared with alternatives and their massive destruction to environment together with their contribution to global warming, ocean currents are cheap. The greatest costs, as always, is in developing the technology. The impact of a few turbines on the massive power of ocean currents will be negligible especially if one factors in saving the overall environment of our tiny "spaceship" to which we all cling for our lives. I agree, it will take an Elon Musk or two to engineer the break through, but that's what advancement is all about.
    • bostjan64
      Elon Musk isn't needed for engineering, he's needed as a cash cow. You're talking about billions of USD in R&D to get this going. A couple of things could help drop that potential, though. For example, if old offshore oil derricks were repurposed and offshore wind farms continue to take off, it could drop costs significantly. But there are also legal issues with jurisdiction. Who gets the energy that is harnessed from international waters? What if another country comes and disconnects the generators? There might not be any one insurmountable problem, but there are hundreds of significantly challenging issues that need to be figured out. This will probably be a source of electricity for us though at some point in the distant future.

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