Conventionally, wind turbines are found on land but a new research has revealed that there is enough potential wind energy moving across the Earth’s oceans to power the world.
Till date, the wind energy is obtained through wind turbines which convert the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power, and then the generator converts this mechanical power to electrical. But the new research suggests that if the wind energy flowing over the oceans can be converted into electric energy then, it is sufficient enough to power the human civilization.
However, we need to cover huge stretches of the sea with turbines and come up with innovative ways to install and maintain them in the so-called extreme ocean environments. Although it is a very difficult target to achieve and has several environmental consequences, the study seems to be quite interesting and reveals the true capability of wind energy over the ocean.
The two authors of the study Anna Possnera and Ken Caldeira, from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, said that the new research is a kind of green light for the wind energy industry from a geophysical point of view. They informed that although there is a lot of wind flowing over Earth’s land, it has an upper limit. This limit occurs, because on land many natural and human structures are present which creates friction and this eventually slows down the wind speed. But there is no such friction or dilution of wind over the ocean because there are no obstacles and this could make a huge difference.
The researchers said that ocean surface wind speeds are on average, 70% higher than land and this could prove to be a viable source for wind energy technologies. Also, it is revealed that floating wind turbines at sea could create up to three times as much electricity as turbines present on land because on the sea the turbines do not face “wind shadow” effect. Possnera and Caldeira concluded that even in the relative calm of summer, the upper geophysical limit on sustained wind power in the North Atlantic alone could be sufficient to supply all of Europe’s electricity. That means, on an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world.