SEATTLE Super-sized electromagnetic coils are helping explain how aquatic life might be affected by renewable energy devices being considered for placement along America's coastal waters and in the nation's rivers.
Scientists with the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are examining whether a variety of fish and invertebrates change their behavior during and after exposure to an electromagnetic field similar to those produced by marine and hydrokinetic power devices that capture energy from ocean waves, tides, currents and rivers. Research began this summer and will continue for two years.
PNNL marine ecologist Jeff Ward will discuss this research Wednesday at Oceans 2010, an ocean engineering conference that runs Monday through Thursday in Seattle. The conference is being hosted by the Marine Technology Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' Oceanic Engineering Society.
"The ocean's natural ebb and flow can be an abundant, constant energy source," said PNNL oceanographer Andrea Copping, who is the principal investigator on the project out of PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Wash. "But before we can place power devices in the water, we need to know how they might impact the marine environment."
Energy companies and utilities are looking at using several different technologies to harness energy from oceans and rivers. Marine power could come from devices that move with rolling waves on the ocean's surface or from underwater turbines that spin with the tides and currents. And hydrokinetic devices would be similar to marine power devices, but generate power from free-flowing water in rivers and streams. Whatever the design, each device generates electricity that travels through cables that connect the device with a land power line. Researchers want to know how the devices and their cables affect marine life.
|Contact: Franny White|
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory