Deep Sea Ocean Array
OCE’s SEACATS technology will therefore work in the part of the cycle of tidal or ocean current flows in which the water flows more slowly at different depths, thereby increasing electrical generation of the tidal and ocean cycle in which the rotors are operating. The SEACATS array can also be suspended in any depth of water from the seabed to the surface to maximize power from flows. This is a competitive and patented OCE advantage over any other tidal or ocean current technology being able to operate on the seabed or suspended 100m below the water surface. The turbine systems will also be deployable in locations with slower ocean currents that are closer to population centres, helping reduce grid accessibility and bottleneck problems. Since ocean current energy is 24/7 in nature, OCE’s systems can generate continuously available electricity can be part of the “base load” and therefore more valuable.
A key component of the OCE technology is a patented ‘tidal bridge’ concept to retrofit existing bridges with SEACATS tidal energy systems. The technology allows for an independent tidal energy plant to be retrofitted beneath an existing structure (bridge or causeway) without compromising its the structural integrity. The tidal plant uses the bridge only to use as a cost effective means of transmitting energy to a nearby substation.
There are locations where the topography creates significant flows, such as the Chacao Channel in southern Chile. It has been said that more water flows past Fort Lauderdale, Florida than is contained in all the rivers of the world combined. Unfortunately, most devices at present rely on massive bases to withstand the force of the current; this restricts the depths in which they can operate, since the swiftest currents are near the surface such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida.
A major problem in trying to exploit these flows is transmitting the energy to market. For example, the southern end of Argentina and the east coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia, each have potentially productive ocean current energy generation sites, but lack nearby markets for electricity. By contrast, in South Africa, where the Agulhas Current is located, the local utility is seeking to develop the country’s extensive solar resources in the Kalahari Desert, far from its industry, which is located mostly on the water and therefore much nearer to the aforementioned current. Naturally, ocean current energy generation could be economically feasible in this case, because of the advantage it has in proximity to the consuming market. Other similar prime locations include Florida, Japan, Korea and China.