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New study reveals windfarms in North Atlantic could meet global power demands

12 October 2017
New study reveals windfarms in North Atlantic could meet global power demands

The research article, by Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira, was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. At onshore facilities, each turbine weakens the power generation potential of each additional turbine downwind of it in a phenomenon known as a "wind shadow". Wind turbines on wind farms continuously convert kinetic energy from surface winds into electricity.

Based on their results, the scientists determined that wind farms built in the area would have a higher maximum force than those on land. Part of the reason wind farms on land can only produce so much energy is that they extract energy from wind that comes from the upper atmosphere. "Will sticking giant wind farms out there just slow down the winds so much that it is no better than over land?"

Conventionally, wind turbines are found on land but a new research has revealed that there is enough potential wind energy moving across the Earth's oceans to power the world.

Which raises the question, would wind farms over the ocean suffer these same constraints or would the atmosphere be able to move more energy downward over the ocean?

Using modeling tools, the team compared the productivity of large Kansas wind farms to theoretical massive open-ocean wind farms.

A new research suggests that because wind speeds on open oceans are so strong, it could be used to generate "civilization scale power", that is if humans find a way to cover vast stretches of oceans and seas with wind turbines.

Other studies have estimated that there is a maximum rate of electricity generation for land-based wind farms, and have concluded that this maximum rate of energy extraction is limited by the rate at which energy is moved down from faster, higher up winds.

In addition, the study identified that drag caused by wind turbines would not slow down winds in the North Atlantic Ocean as much as they would on land due to the large amount of heat that is released from the ocean into the atmosphere. By GCR staff0 CommentsA wind farm in the middle of the North Atlantic would be five times as efficient as one onshore and could provide limitless low-priced energy, says a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The advent of this innovative technology will allow us to harness powerful wind speeds at much greater depths".

Wind power production in the deep waters of the open ocean is in its infancy of commercialization.