The Ocean as a Renewable Source of Energy

[+] Author and Article Information
O. M. Griffin

Ocean Technology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D. C.

J. Eng. Ind 97(3), 897-908 (Aug 01, 1975) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3438701 History: Received July 28, 1974; Online July 15, 2010


The oceans and their environment have long been envisioned as renewable sources of energy. It is the purpose of this paper to assess the feasibility of drawing on the sea for power and to determine the extent to which the oceans are likely to serve future energy needs. A review is made of recent U. S. funding levels for the research and development of renewable energy sources during the fiscal years 1971–1975, and a study is made of the technical and environmertal acceptability status of tidal, wind, and sea thermal power generation systems. The estimated costs of these environmental power sources are compared with the prevailing power costs for nuclear and coal plants. On the basis of these comparisons, recommendations are made for a program of research and development culminating in the construction of prototype plants for wind and sea thermal power plants. Tidal power generation is found to be technically feasible but economically uninviting at present.

Copyright © 1975 by ASME
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