Tidal wave energy refers to all energy contained within the regular ebb and flow of ocean tides that allow water to rise and fall on a regular basis throughout the year. This energy is generated via the gravitational flux created by the rotation of the moon that literally “pulls” the oceans of the world in various ways and creates regular rises and falls in ocean levels for any given area throughout a month.
In order to utilize these regular shifts a number of different devices have been developed to allow people to harness the regular shifting of the Earth’s ocean levels. One of the most common methods for utilizing the kinetic energy of tidal shifts is through the usage of what is known as a “barrage”, or a system that operates much in the same way as a conventional damn by releasing water through channels that turn turbines which generate electricity, allowing for regular energy production based upon water height differences found on both sides of the barrage. These have been particularly useful when placed in river mouths though at the same time have a number of different drawbacks associated with them – much similar to other damns that block the flow of water completely in order to generate power.
Another form of tidal energy harnessing device is known as a “tidal lagoon”. These lagoons operate much in the same way as a barrage, however instead of blocking an entire section of river or other tributary the lagoons capture water in man-made areas and use this to drive the turbine rotations necessary for energy production.
Further tidal energy generators are being looked into development regularly, though current development is limiting the overall effectiveness and deployment of such energy generation devices. Although tidal wave energy has been used in some sort of fashion since the middle ages and even as far back as Roman times where users would rely upon the regular shifting pattern of water to power crude machines little interest has been fostered in recent years due to overwhelming public interest in other more immediately attainable areas of alternative energy such as solar power, wind power and biofuels. Tidal energy also traditionally has a relatively low energy output in relation to its development costs, being able to generate energy only periodically an in relatively low amounts as the tides shift.
Tidal wave generators should not be confused with wave generators, however, that rely upon the regular lapping of the ocean’s waves for power generation purposes. These, rather than relying upon the regular rise and fall of the tide, instead rely upon the more steady constant movement of the ocean to generate energy by using wave movements to drive power generating gyros and feed the generated electricity back to shore for processing.
Although the majority of interest in alternative power as of late has turned towards other means of energy generation such as solar and wind energy a growing number of developers have taken an interest in oceans and are working regularly to tap the massive power held in the water for further clean, renewable energy sources. This has led some to label tidal wave energy as the “energy of the future”, however much further development is necessary to fully turn tidal energy into a viable energy alternative and draw further attention from the alternative energy community.
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