Japan plans to create a network of underwater tidal power plants on ocean currents

Active shipping around the Japanese islands does not allow the Japanese to deploy conventional tidal power plants. Therefore, experts began to develop and test underwater tidal power plants, which are immersed in water to a depth of more than 50 meters. Successful testing of early prototypes of such power plants is leading to plans to build extensive networks of 2-MW standard tidal turbines in Japan by 2030.

Japan plans to create a network of underwater tidal power plants on ocean currents

The development of the Kairyu Tidal Ocean Power Plant was started by IHI and NEDO scientists in 2011. By 2017, the partners assembled a 100 kW unit in the form of three 20-m floats with two 11-m blades (two 50 kW generators). The immersion depth of 50 m was chosen for safety reasons during typhoons, when you will not surprise anyone with the 20th wave, although the closer to the surface, the more powerful the movement of water masses.

Japan plans to create a network of underwater tidal power plants on ocean currents

The most promising place for installing underwater tidal turbines near Japan is the area of ​​the Japan Current (Kuroshio) off the country’s southern and eastern coasts in the Pacific Ocean. Potentially, the current power is estimated at 205 GW. For commercial use, IHI and NEDO are planning to build a 2MW tidal power plant with 40 blades. A distributed network of such turbines could make a significant contribution to providing the islands with electrical energy.

According to experts, a network of tidal power plants could generate electricity at the price of solar. At the same time, the efficiency of tidal power plants is much higher than that of solar farms. Thus, the installed capacity utilization factor (ICUF) for solar farms is only 15%, while for tidal power plants it reaches 70% and approaches the ICUU of thermal power plants with their 80%.

Japan plans to create a network of underwater tidal power plants on ocean currents

After the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Japan has problems with the development of peaceful atom. Also, there are no areas for full-fledged solar energy in the country, and the winds are not as predictable as in Europe. Tidal power plants could be the backbone in Japan around which the country will build carbon-free energy.

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