The ocean can produce two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun's heat, and mechanical energy from the tides and waves.
Oceans cover more than 70% of Earth's surface, making them the world's largest solar collectors. The sun's heat warms the surface water a lot more than the deep ocean water, and this temperature difference creates thermal energy. Just a small portion of the heat trapped in the ocean could power the world.
Ocean thermal energy is used for many applications, including electricity generation. There are three types of electricity conversion systems: closed-cycle, open-cycle, and hybrid. Closed-cycle systems use the ocean's warm surface water to vaporize a working fluid, which has a low-boiling point, such as ammonia. The vapor expands and turns a turbine. The turbine then activates a generator to produce electricity. Open-cycle systems actually boil the seawater by operating at low pressures. This produces steam that passes through a turbine/generator. And hybrid systems combine both closed-cycle and open-cycle systems.
Oceans cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface and represent an enormous amount of energy in the form of wave, tidal, marine current and thermal gradient. The energy potential of our seas and oceans well exceeds our present energy needs. India has a long coastline with the estuaries and gulfs where tides are strong enough to move turbines for electrical power generation. A variety of different technologies are currently under development throughout the world to harness this energy in all its forms including waves (40,000 MW), tides (9000 MW) and thermal gradients (180,000 MW). Deployment is currently limited but the sector has the potential to grow, fuelling economic growth, reduction of carbon footprint and creating jobs not only along the coasts but also inland along its supply chains.
As Government of India steps up its effort to reach the objectives to contemplate its Renewable Energy and climate change objectives post 2022, it is opportune to explore all possible avenues to stimulate innovation, create economic growth and new jobs as well as to reduce our carbon footprint. Given the long-term energy need through this abundant source, action needs to be taken now on RDD&D front in order to ensure that the ocean energy sector can play a meaningful part in achieving our objectives in coming decades. MNRE looks over the horizon at a promising new technology and considers the various options available to support its development. Over 100 different ocean energy technologies are currently under development in more than 30 countries. Most types of technologies are currently at demonstration stage or the initial stage of commercialization.
· Total identified potential of Tidal Energy is about 9000 MW in West Coast Gulf of Cambay (7000 MW), Gulf of Kutch (1200 MW) and in East Coast the Ganges Delta in the Sunderbans in West Bengal for small scale tidal power development estimates the potential in this region to be about 100 MW.
· The total available potential of wave energy in India along the 6000 Km of India’s coast is estimated to be about 40,000 MW – these are preliminary estimates. This energy is however less intensive than what is available in more northern and southern latitudes.
Source: renewableenergyworld.com, mnre.gov.in