Ocean Current Electricity Generating System (OCEGS) uses "wind mills" tethered on cables anchored in ocean currents to generate electricity. This system offers significant advantages over other systems that allows the potential capacity to provide enough energy to eliminate oil imports into the U.S.
The main advantage of OCEGS over wind and solar power is that ocean currents can produce constant power 24/7/365. There is also a tremendous ocean current capacity available. The Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida could produce over 400,000 megawatts of power if fully utilized. This is 10 times the power generated in Florida.
Ocean current power is also the “greenest” of all existing power generating methods. There are no pollutants or heat generated. Ocean power has the advantage of not requiring large tracts of land like dams and wind farms. There also would be no wild life disturbed as dams and windmills have. The ocean turbines are guarded so marine life cannot be harmed by the rotating blades.
With all these advantages, why hasn't this source of power been tapped in the past? Cost! There are several companies world wide working on harnessing ocean currents to produce electricity. Some have built prototypes. The reason that tidal power has not been exploited more is due to the high capital and maintenance costs and low up time of the existing designs. The existing designs have an electrical generator attached to a turbine rotor submerged in 100 feet of water. This design requires the generator to be enclosed in an air tight capsule. There must be complicated systems to keep the capsule from flooding. Corrosion is another major issue.
Potential capacity is another issue with existing projects. All of the existing designs can only produce power in currents less than 200 feet deep. This means the potential capacity of these systems is limited. This system is practical in depth of 2000 feet so the more plentiful deep ocean currents can be used.
This water turbine is cost completive with fossil fuels because it uses a maintenance free, water proof submersible component that can be operated at depth of 2000'. The turbine drives a water pump instead of a generator. The submerged sea water pump is a simple rubber bellows design that requires no maintenance. The units can operate for 30 years before requiring any servicing, and then only for barnacle removal and check valve replacement. This key feature allows the unit to be completely waterproof, maintenance free and have a high depth limit. The high pressure water drives a hydraulic motor/ generator unit on shore.
A large scale system consists of many water turbines tethered to a cable anchored to the ocean floor. This innovative yet simple design has a capitol cost of only $250 per kw to install.
A system in the Gulf Stream, for example, could produce 400,000 megawatts. The Gulf Stream has a 4-5 knot current in an area 15 miles wide x 120 miles long x 600 feet deep.