Japan is both power-hungry and fossil-fuel reliant making for a bad combination but that could all soon change. The nation has now successfully tested a system relying on the deep ocean that could provide a reliable steady form of renewable energy, according to a report by Bloomberg published Tuesday.
A project over ten years in the making
The invention comes from Japanese heavy machinery maker IHI Corp. The company has been developing a subsea turbine that harnesses the energy in deep ocean currents for over ten years.
The giant sea turbine called Kairyu looks like a 330-ton airplane. It features two counter-rotating turbine fans that are connected by a massive fuselage and it functions by floating while anchoring to the sea floor at a depth of 30-50 meters (100-160 feet).
IHI Corp. has ambitious plans to site the turbines in one of the world’s strongest currents (the Kuroshio Current) and transmit the power via seabed cables. Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) speculates that this current could potentially generate as much as 200 gigawatts of reliable energy.
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