Vortex Induced Vibrations: Ocean Currents Could Power The Entire Planet

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vivceThe massive oceanic surface currents that exist on Earth today are one of many unused reservoirs of energy that we could tap into. Their total output of energy has been estimated at approximately 280-trillion watt – hours. Ocean surface currents are considered an indirect form of solar energy because of their link to surface heating processes as well as the winds.

Scientists have developed a device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents, which have the ability to power the entire planet. All that is required for the technology to work is a simple water way or sea bed. The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot. The device is made up of cylinders that are positioned horizontal to the water flow. The cylinders create vorticies as the water flows past, which allow the cylinders to be pushed and pulled up and down. The energy this action creates can be converted to electricity. Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or river bed in a flow of three knots can produce 51 watts. This is more efficient than similar-sized turbines or wave generators and the amount of power produced can increase extensively if the flow is faster or if more cylinders are added.

If we could harness 0.1 per cent of the energy in the ocean, we could support the energy needs of 15 billion people. In the English Channel, for example, there is a very strong current, so you produce a lot of power” – Michael Bernitsas, Professor of Naval Architecture at the University of Michigan

The system is called a vortex induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy (VIVACE).  It is modeled after the way fish swim through water, how they glide between the vorticies created by the bodies of other fish swimming ahead of them, they ride each others wake. 

We have so many known alternative ways to generate energy without having to adjust our individual lifestyles in any way shape or form. Although the planet is calling for each human being to adjust themselves and make changes for the better, technologies like these could be implemented so easily but are not given the proper attention. With all of the alternative, cleaner and more harmonious technologies that can generate energy available today, we have to ask; why are we not using them? Other than replacing parts, which can be built to last a long time, this type of technology can never run out. It requires no external substance to keep it in power generating mode. Maybe the reason that clean, new and alternative technologies are not prevalent in society today  is because you can’t put a price tag on them as easily. The point is that these systems could be implemented worldwide with ease, and require nothing  (no substance) to go into it in order for it to generate sufficient output.

Billions live in poverty due to a lack of energy while we sit on known solutions. The problem is not the lack of energy, the problem is why there is a lack of energy. We know we have the required resources to eradicate poverty and have all living in abundance, but I guess we are not ready for that yet. The fact that we can do it means it should be done, and the fact that it’s not being done should cause you to raise an eyebrow, ask some questions and make connections.


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More From 'Science & Tech'

CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Emily

    What kind of an effect would this have on marine life??

    • Captnhappy

      Exactly what Fusion said. We place objects like this in the ocean all the time to help the growth of corals and marine plants. These will be beneficial to the life around them.

    • It would be great for marine life because the entire cylinder complex would be an artificial reef in a year or so.

    • Arjun

      No harm to marine life:)

      • headwaters

        Balderdash. There is no energy technology that doesn’t have an impact, especially when scaled to support a planetary population of 7 billion energy hogs. There is no free lunch. The first priority has to be a serious energy diet.

        • grips

          Balderdash to your balderdash. How about this. Beneficial impact to marine life, due to widespread reduction of oil use?
          Sure it’s going to have an impact, but the impact is likely to be something nature can live with and adapt to, rather than something that seems toxic to all life.
          So, sure, it will probably have an impact, but if it came hand in hand with a lowering of oil/coal use, it’s probably negligible, if not good, for marine life (and other forms of life too)

      • Damian

        well it probably has not been tested on a mass scale so you cant make that comment

        • Boun

          Actualy he can … thats the new look on democracy (u have to comment, cuz u have right to it .. sadly, yes) ANyway i think this is so far beyond OIL , that it have no chance for some REALY massive and global scale (sory my english, iam dumbfuk from old continent) .

          Are ways how to make energy from almost everything around you.. thou nobady will gove money in to it while the real Elite Gigants stil chess-mate with the oil rafineries .

          Sadly nobady ask what impact have oil for ANY living organism .. anywhere, not only in sea .

          Peez people

  2. Bennett

    Why do these rich entrepreneurs doesn’t want to invest on this technology?

    • Boun

      We stil have oil 😛 and dolar ..

    • post

      Wow, some of these comments are whack.

  3. Years ago, there was an article on a way to create structures cheaply in the ocean. You could build two forms out of chicken wire and apply a small voltage potential between them. One of them would slowly accumulate a layer of chemicals similar to a shell and become solid.
    Using this technology, someone could probably create power generating towers for almost nothing.
    Figure this all out, and you could probably become rich swiftly by selling cheap power.

  4. susan shaffer

    my neighbour is from Samoa and he told me they get all their electricity from the movement of the ocean. However, in the first line of this it says that it requires surface water. Wouldn’t that interfere with shipping?

    • Boun

      Eventhou…. who cares if that would be good for us and nature in one package ? (would be probably like 1st think ever maded by human with both of this options ON )

  5. I imagine there are plenty of surfaces that are not being used for transport, hauling goods, or recreation that can be harnessed for power. Yes, it’d be nice to see this concern addressed in future articles on the subject: where to implement this technology without interfering with ocean/river/lake use?, etc.

  6. Miralee Munro

    I’ve always wondered why we don’t use the vast energy resources of the ocean for our power needs, so it was good to read this article.

    As to its affect on marine life, my feeling is that fish would think, “What the hell is that?!” and steer clear of it, until they got used to it. But I do admit that we would be ‘polluting’ the pristine LOOK of under the ocean to serve our own needs.

    • Roxanne Russomano

      Yes, it may be true that we would be “horning in” on the pristine look of the ocean, and I am a nature lover… but it you weigh it up against what we are doing to Mother Earth.. I am not sure if it would be as bad… just exploring the options here…. love all the input … thank you all for making me think…..

  7. Ky

    Marine life near the vortex would be affected due to the noise and vibrations from the mechanism. The vortex may not kill them directly but it could put stress on the marine organisms resulting in unusual or radical behavior. Maybe something like this should be placed in a large dead zone so it doesn’t effect any marine life.

    • M.O.

      well to be honest, we have to realize the amount of damage we have already done to the oceans with trash dumping and oil spills (BP lol). I really dont think taking up about 5-10% of the ocean would affect marine life that much because at the end of the day, they will migrate somewhere else if they are affected in any negative way. I don’t know about you but I am willing to sacrifice at least 5-10% of the ocean for the survival of the human race and for a better future for our kids, kids of kids etc.

      The next 100 years or so will really be a test for the human race; whether we make or break. Saudi oil is going to dry up in about 50-60 years time and will no longer hold a grip on OPEC. US has its reserves and are strategically saving it until the Saudis run out but I don’t suppose their oil will last long either with the global demand for it. Yes, there are natural gas and oil fields out there in other countries but eventually, they will all run out too or it just won’t be enough to suffice the global demand for energy. To simply put it, we are a little screwed and over the course of the next 200-300 years; we will face money/energy/social problems as a result of the of global warming. The effects are already happening. Of course, there are scientists out there saying we can do things like harvest the moon in the future (that is actually a very efficient energy source but realistically we are no where near that capacity yet). What this article is suggesting is very relevant and a viable solution to implement NOW because its a method open and easy to use for developing countries as well.

      If we can harness this kind of energy on a massive scale, we can prolong our stay on this planet. Whatever we do at this point will simply slow the eventual process of global warning.

      what I am saying here is quite general but the big picture should be clear.

  8. yabbadoody

    Wave power does not necessarily interfere with shipping, fish, etc. All it basically requires is wave motion, which is a “constant” in any large body of water (possible exception being when the eye of a hurricane is approaching, prior to storm swell)

  9. yabbadoody

    PS – The U.S. doesn’t NEED to utilize wave power, as if even 30-40% of the country’s GEOTHERMAL power potential is ever realized, we will have a constant power source for several centuries (power companies estimate 300 years), at 100% of current usage, without conservation.

    That said, there are a number of coastal areas which could benefit greatly by having wave power – instead of coal, nuclear, etc., and it does seem to make more sense than water-based wind power

  10. Michael Jacobs

    Technical means alone will not resolve the energy crisis – there is also a need for inner changes. The basic life force is not physical but rather metaphysical. All Humans live by the grace and the invisible energy of their metaphysical Soul, and all Souls are interconnected. However, in order to acknowledge the existence and virtues of the Soul, and to begin using its freely available energy, our society must radically shift its priorities.

    Our current civilization through its giant corporations cynically maintains poverty and lethal hunger – and is even eager to finance deadly wars – wholly and only because this behavior yields immense financial profits. As a society, we would have to let go of this profit motive and allow ourselves to be driven by compassion, instead. A large enough ‘critical mass’ of individuals who adopt love as their driving force in life can and will change the entire emotional and spiritual climate on this planet.

    When the benefit of the many achieves its victory over the profit of the few, the attention and the funds which are needed to develop and apply the use of cheap(er) sources of energy can be finally freed up. Over time, making the switch from the fear of punishment to the love for sharing, we shall also cease from harming and abusing the planet, because we will finally recognize her for all she shares with us on a daily basis, without even asking so much as a thank you in return.

    • Absolutely Michael, you have put it succinctly. I believe humanity will do the ‘right thing’ because we have evolved far enough along the scale to see not only the abuses and horrors in
      a profit driven world, but we are slowly making a shift into realizing we all share this one planet, and that what affects one, affects all. Wake up time is here and now, make compassion and caring for one other a priority, and get these solutions out from under lock and key.

      • Boun

        The right think … yes.. go and turn off your laptop , washmachine , TV , evry piece of electro u find in your house, then go tell your naightbor about it . You will see the middlefinger (if he will be able to do it over the shock you evoke inside that poor human living things ) . Sadly .. there is only one possible way .. some ppl will benefit planet (few) and some will go trade/be rich/be powerfull . One day .. Earth will say “fck you all tards” , shake it self and start over.. as it did with Dinosaurs.. and god know where the Mayans are..

  11. Phillis

    Talk about a race never evolving! Holy moley! It pays to be kind to your arks. Aside from the porcine genetics reference, the human race has thousands of years worth of fantastic reasons not to trust the pearls cast. The race has been sold shiny baubles of “perfectly safe” ideas, only to be stung by all of them. Pardon us, while the race evolves.

    This pearl is no different, but not for the reason Supplanters might think. This is the physics of fluid dynamics for reasons yet to be disclosed. Not to mention, further hydrocarbon and diatom damage, which wrecks the food chain at the cellular level. It also means dam blowing, which – let’s translate: crop land destruction, imminent domain, forced relocation, and government-owned water ways. Fun! That’s the same thing as Katrina. Oh, and the Native Americans. This is a small pox saddle blanket on a Trojan horse.

    It takes a big set of balls to be this socially myopic. Perhaps drawing from the prefrontal cortex rather than the reptilian will garner more stable discussions between two deeply cleaved factions. Your timing truly sucks. The Bush eukaryotes bought the Aquifera Guarana, the world’s biggest fresh water aquifer on the planet, and “respectable” magazines talk presidential saviors and virgin births (because parthenogenesis renders males obsolete).

    So, there’s NOTHING adverse about this in any way, eh? lol. Whatever you say. From where I’m standing, it looks to me like this is the same heavy-handed, incredibly manipulative attempt to get people to view this positively without them ever realizing that, whoever controls the water controls the world. NWO, much? You won’t ever get my permission. I know the truth: independence renders middle men obsolete, too. I know what nyodmium perpetual energy is, and I know how to dig a well. Thanks, I’ll pass. I don’t need anything your camp has to offer.

    • Boun

      I see your point very clearly mate , i agree with the Bush theory (no i wont call it conspiracy, cuz thats what stupid ppl do – rather call it smart move of elite) -HOWEVER . If we shuld get out of this crap we are in , we NEED to use this technologies. They are not bad and they need to be improving, evolving and besting . Thou … first human must deserve survive . ANd it starts by turning off the “real system life” and turning on the “life itself” . What do i mean ? Simply.. if u cant value the tree which is growing on your garden (ure passing evryday on your way to work .. etc etc and never notice or just “oh need cut some leafs” ) you cant ever value anything important . Yes i said it like idiot, thou no other words in my backpack 😛 WHo want to see it troguht , that one will . And there is no matter if ppl say inteligent stuff or just point on some stupid fact .. evrything plays together . Figuring out that this system we have now cant work for future happiness (or possibility of happiness atleast) is the first step into throwing your TV out . If Korea wont make diffference soon , we might be unable even notice ours incomming end . Love the article btw :) +1 to the “maker” 😛

    • Kodiax

      um Phyllis, its neodymium perpetual energy and its barely in its infancy so how exactly is it going to save your world? and hmm wondering where you live and just how difficult and expensive its going to be to “dig a well”
      the rest of your post? really dont know wth you are talking about and your nwo comment is hysterical to say the least. take your tinfoil hat off and take a walk on the beach or something.. get away from that computer in your basement.

  12. JB

    No, it can’t. A rudimentary google search on this will show you that the world consumes about 500 times the amount of energy the ocean current can provide.

    • Boun

      check who owe google … same ppl who forbid marihuana , bring the weapons into middleeast europe and so on so on .. (and democracy to Syria, Lybia , Kuba… ) If u stop google, the power need will get lower :) Google is mighty weapon.. in school they told us “dont need to have the knowledge, u need to know where to find that knowledge” .. ITS A TRAP !!

  13. Vegard

    Giving it in watt hours doesnt make sense, unless you mean thats the kinetic energy that is present at this moment. But 280 trillion watt hours is not that much. We use approximately 15 terawatts (15 trillion watts per second) worldwide. That is 134 petahours of energy a year (134 quadrillion) or 134 000 trillion watt hours. I highly doubt that getting all energy from oceanic currents is a good idea OR possible.

  14. Alisa

    I’m very interested in this new technology and I definitely agree that we need some alternative way to produce energy that is cost-effective and does not harm the environment. I’m curious whether they’ve tested these in actual marine environments yet. How would it affect marine life if humans spread these all out on ocean floors and river beds? There are lots of bottom-dwelling creatures. I’d also have to wonder whether any marine life could damage the equipment and render it inactive. It wouldn’t produce much energy if all these gadgets got broken. Could they corrode in sea water? How would they get repaired if they were in deep ocean water?

  15. Zahra

    We’ve got plenty of oceans, but their power seems so overwhelming; unpredictable! Can systems be designed that will withstand any level of storm surge? Surface currents seem the most volatile, how about deeper ocean currents; they appear to be more steady and reliable, but I don’t really know, how can that be gauged? I don’t mean to be negative, but has anyone tried this? How expensive is it to develop? <3


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