COUNCIL CHRONICLE – Scientists have been wondering just how much power a wind turbine located far offshore could actually produce. Because of this, a team of researchers set out and established that wind farms located in the North Atlantic might actually be capable of powering the entire planet.
Stanford’s Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Global Ecology researchers are behind this new theoretical study.
The research team’s initially pondering revolved around the idea of building a wind farm offshore. They were wondering what such a plant’s maximum potential would actually be. Then, they extended this hypothesis and wondered whether this could actually power the entire globe.
The scientists compared the efficiency of a wind turbine on land versus one offshore. In doing so, they established that the speed of the wind over the open ocean is some 70 percent higher than that on land. One of the reasons behind this, according to the researchers, is the unobstructed flow of the winds.
Wind Farms in the Atlantic and Their Possible Utility
The study’s research duo then looked at the Atlantic Ocean, in particular. In doing so, they found that the wind currents blowing over the area are capable of generating some 70 percent higher speed than those breezing over land.
This is due, in part, to the confluence of strong and unobstructed winds. The ocean in itself is another important factor. Calculations seem to point out that the surface heat flux of the area is more than capable of contributing to the needed kinetic energy. The surface heat flux is basically the radiation released by the ocean waters as they cool down.
Based on their results, the scientists determined that wind farms built in the area would have a higher maximum force than those on land.
“While no commercial-scale deep water wind farms yet exist, our results suggest that such technologies, if they became technically and economically feasible, could potentially provide civilization-scale power,” say the researchers.
Their computational and mathematical modelings also reached the conclusion that a sizeable wind farm or possibly a group of wind farms could allegedly be capable of supplying the whole world’s energetic needs on its own.
Still, such a wind farm would have to be some 1.2 million square miles big, which still accounts for no more than 3 percent of the entire outspread of the Atlantic Ocean.
Detailed study findings are available in a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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