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Q & A: Power generation using tidal forces

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Most recent answer: 07/02/2012
Q:
I was just reading about how Saturn's moon, Titan, probably has a liquid water ocean under its suface despite lacking enought solar energy to melt its ice. Tidal flexing due to orbit around Saturn heats up the core of Titan. My question is whether it would be possible to build a renewable energy producing device which could use this same principle? Could a device on an oblique orbit around Earth generate heat due to having its shape warped back and forth, and then perodically transmit this energy to a hub which sends it down to the surface?
- Ron Stewart (age 33)
Burlington, Vermont, USA
A:
Good idea Ron.  In principle you could, but it's much easier make use of tidal effects right here on earth.  The shipping costs are much less.   There are several commercial power generation units already in operation using ocean tidal currents.  See for information on stations already built or under construction and   for some engineering details.

LeeH




(published on 07/02/2012)

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