Marine Science Faculty Publications

A Critique of Alternative Power Generation for Florida by Mechanical and Solar Means

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alternative power generation, ocean observations, solar, watermills, waves, windmills

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Using observations of surface winds, solar radiation, ocean currents and waves collected by the University of South Florida, Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMPS), augmented by other data and numerical model simulations, we address the potential for electrical power generation for Florida by harnessing the natural energy sources of wind and solar, along with ocean currents and waves. We begin by identifying what nature offers. For wind and solar, we use specifications from existing, commercially available devices to convert nature's bounty to power generation estimates. In the absence of mature, commercially available devices for ocean currents and waves, we draw upon physical principles to arrive at power generation estimates for these potential sources. On the basis of what nature offers and what machinery may be capable of producing, we then make reasonable extrapolations on what these estimations may mean in a practical sense for supplying energy to society. Power generation from these naturally occurring, alternative energy sources, particularly wind and solar, may provide a means for supplementing power generation by conventional fuels but does not provide a replacement for conventional fuels.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine Technology Society Journal, v. 46, issue 5, p. 12-23