Navy Tests Power from Ocean Currents

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
U.S. Navy engineers will soon help test and enhance a novel hydroelectric turbine designed by Florida Hydro Power and Light (FHPL) for extracting electricity from ocean currents. The Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division (NSWCCD) and FHPL will deploy the turbine in the Gulf Stream, then connect it to the Florida power grid. If all goes well, for the first time in history a pollution-free source of electricity is possible at a cost below fossil fuels.

Under a February 13th Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, the Navy and FHPL will test and refine the FHPL innovative open center turbine unit and mooring assembly. Prototypes suggest this system works. FHPL will construct the production units at the company's facility in Palatka, Florida. Carderock Division brings to bear technical experts and unique facilities for efficient testing and refinement of the new design. NSWCCD will use expertise in propeller design and moored systems as well as its unique hydrodynamic test facilities. Work will be performed at division sites in Bethesda, Maryland and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This system is also expected to produce hydrogen at a cost below the Department of Energy goal of $2.00/kilogram. Achieving this would move America closer to pollution free hydrogen automobiles, further reducing dependence on foreign oil.

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