What is Tidal Energy?
Tidal power or Tidal energy is a form of hydropower that uses tidal energy generators that capture the kinetic motion of rise and fall of tides to produce electricity. It is the difference in the heights of the tides that is used to generate the energy. The high and low tides create tidal currents, which are essential in generation of this kind of energy mostly prevalent in coastal areas.
Tidal power has great potential for future as tides can be much more accurately predicted than wind or sun and due to massive size of oceans. Though it available in plenty but harnessing energy from it is not that easy. It suffers from huge investment and limits availability of sites where it can be captured.
How Tidal Energy Works?
When there is increased height of water levels in the ocean, tides are produced which rush back and forth in the ocean. The tides have great potential in generating energy from the tidal currents. In order to harness the energy, ocean barrage are installed on the corner of the river. It is this place where the turbines will also be installed right inside the barrage. The turbines will be propelled by the rush of water through them producing the energy commonly known as electricity.
In order to produce significant energy amounts from the tidal turbines a wide range of tidal current have to be tapped. Moreover, the tides have to be very high and the water rushing through the turbines have to be very substantial to enable to drive the turbines much more effectively. This will require a range of between 4 and 5 meters to give out this substantial amount of energy.
It is very important to spot the right place with a suitable position and conditions for installing the barrage and turbines for electricity production. There are many places round the world, which have convenient conditions for installing barrages and turbines for electricity production. Oceans have significant amounts of strong tidal currents, which make them viable options for tapping the tidal energy.
In Canada, for instance Bay of Fundy is used in generating tidal energy. The area has the largest tide range in the world. Its tidal range averages 10.8 meters making is the best place to produce electricity and certainly producers more electricity than any other place in the world. The largest tidal power station is La Rance station in France which generates around 240 MW of power.
Tidal Barrage Energy
This is basically a tidal plant that has three parts, which work together. The first part is the barrage or dam, which holds back the water during high tide. The second part is the sluice gate, which lets in water via the third part, which is the turbine generating electricity. The kinetic motion of ebb and flow of tides can be used to turn a turbine. The sluice gates are normally left open during the high tide and close during low tides creating a water level difference. This is what creates a potential difference, which powers these turbines when water is released.
Tidal Stream Generator
They are similar to wind turbines only that they are installed below the water surface as opposed to above land in windmills. They help in converting water movement from tidal chance or range (kinetic energy) into electricity. Take note that water is 830 times heavier than air and therefore can generate power at lower speeds than the wind turbines.
Dynamic Tidal Power
This is a new technology that is still in the development stage. It has a theory which postulates tidal flows can be exploited and the interaction between kinetic energy and potential be used to generate more electricity.
Benefits of Using Tidal Energy
There are many benefits that are associated with use of tidal energy. One of the most significant of them all is that it is a renewable source of energy. The density of water of 100 times heavier than water helps in generation of large energy amounts from the tidal currents even when the tides are at low speed.
The currents of the tides are easy to predict and hence favorable as far as planning of maintenance and production is concerned. This is a new form of energy that is still not popular in energy generation. However, it is strongly taking precedence all over the world. It is one of the considered futures of energy