All type of renewable energy which is acquired from the sea is called Ocean Energy. Constant flow of ocean currents contains huge amount of water across the earth's ocean. Technological development contributes to extract energy from ocean currents and convert it into usable power.
Constantly moving ocean waters are affected by water salinity, wind, rotation of the earth, temperature and topography of the ocean floor. Wind and solar heating of surface water near the equator contribute to drive most ocean currents. Meanwhile, salinity and density variations of water column create some currents. Ocean currents are comparatively constant and flow in one direction. Due to the density of water, ocean currents move slowly and contain great amount of energy in comparison to typical wind speed. Water is denser than air. For this characteristics, ocean energy can be captured and converted into usable form of electricity.
Ocean Energy is classified in three types. They are as follows:
- Mechanical energy from the waves that is wave energy.
- Mechanical energy from the tides that is tidal energy.
- Thermal energy from the sun’s heat.
How does it work?
Wave energy: This type of energy is produced by converting the energy of ocean waves or swells into other type of energy which is only electricity at present. Various types of technologies are developing and trialing in order to convert the energy of waves into electricity.
Tidal Energy: Tidal movements contribute to generate tidal energy. Both potential energy and kinetic energy exist in tides. Potential energy is related to the vertical oscillations in the sea level. On the other hand, kinetic energy is related to the horizontal motion of the water. Technologies of producing energy from the rise and fall of the tides can be used to harness it.
Ocean Thermal Energy: By converting the temperature difference between surface water and water at depth into useful energy, ocean thermal energy can be generated. Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) is a system of twenty four hours base load electricity generation per day through out the year. In comparison to other ocean energy sources, OTEC is one of the continuously available renewable energy resources which contribute to base load power supply.