Energy islands are a new technology based on using floating islands in the ocean to generate electricity. There are two dominant ideas on how these islands should harness energy. The first is that water pumped from hundreds of meters below the island up to the top. This water is 5 degrees centigrade colder and is then used to cool surface water which allows for heat extraction. This heat energy can then be harnessed to power turbines.
The second idea is to use floating islands with wind power turbines mounted on them to take advantage of the constant and power winds on the ocean. This has the advantage of being a more reliable source of energy on energy islands. You can’t trust that the ocean temperatures won’t fluctuate making heat extraction less efficient.
A third idea is to use combined facilities but this has an additional downside. The maintenance on these energy islands will currently be rather expensive and a combined wind / heat energy island could become too expensive for it to continue to be energy efficient in terms of cost.
Energy islands can definitely be a useful alternative and renewable energy. However, they aren’t without their faults. Let’s go back over the advantages and disadvantages of energy islands.
Pros of Energy Islands
- They take advantage of nearly untapped energy sources like wind and ocean temperature.
- Getting a solid small design that can link with other designs results in high scalability.
- Removes the use of land for power generation by being located off shore.
Cons of Energy Islands
- High maintenance cost as a result of being located off shore.
- Not quite a renewable energy but rather a resiliant energy.
- Potential hazard on the ocean to ships.