Sunday, November 30, 2008

Big wheels keep on turnin'.....

...and so do "a field of cylinders" when they're rollin' in the river.

If I wasn't running all around the globe trying to create an empire right now, I would be out on the levee trying to invent something like this:

Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists

Mainly so we could put Entergy out of business, but also because it just makes common sense.

Hydroelectric power is the most commonly "Green" technology used to create electricity in the United States. Even though it's not...errr...completely green....it is better than Coal, Natural Gas, and arguably nuclear, depending on who you ask. On top of that it's the one natural resource New Orleans has plenty of....actually too much of....water.

In New Orleans, the Mississippi flows at an average of about 600,000 cubic ft. per second - 3 miles per hour or about 3.5 knots. While the overall flow of water through the Mississippi banks is a massive amount of power....that power is dispersed in it's channel as the depth of the river at Algiers Point is a whopping 200 feet...wow...did you know that?

That always amazes me every time I look at it. I used to ski, jet-ski and swim in the Mississippi....believe it or not....but I was about 500 miles north of N.O.

In the summer of 1987, during a serious heartland drought, I can remember standing right smack dab in the middle of the river. I was standing on a sandbar and the water was only up above my waist!

I digress...as usual.

Anyway, if we could figure out a way to harness that massive amount of power, we could light up this whole city and tell Entergy and their Arkansas power plant to go fuck themselves (which is numero uno on my windmill tilting list).

The technology in this article claims it can produce 51 watts of power over a small one cubic meter of the Ocean/River bed. That may not sound like a lot but imagine if we have them lined up all the way down the river bed from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

Let's do the math....the article says a field of cylinders over a 1.5 km area and reaching a height of a two story house (conservatively 24 feet high) can generate enough power for 100,000 homes. I think the issue would be the width of the grid here and not the length....if the grid could be readjusted to say 1/4 quarter of that width which is approximately 1/4 of a mile wide and then we add on the extra cylinders to the length of the grid, that would put a single field's width at a little over 400 yards or .38 miles wide.

Taking into account the reduction in width...each field would then be about 2.8 miles long. That means 2 to 3 fields could power the entire city...at the most 4 and it's underwater footprint would be, at most, 11.2 miles long.

The depth shouldn't be an issue unless you're in a submarine, but I suspect sediment flow could wreak havoc on the cylinders pending their current design.

Ideally it would probably be best to put the fields north or south of the city, obviously away from the port which would also allow easier access for maintenance issues. Hey, Laplace may have a whole new industry on their hands aside from that nasty-ass Norco plant that keeps belching toxins into their community.

So let's sum this up... a grid which is 11.2 miles in length x .4 miles in width x 24 feet in height...submerged at the bottom of the Mississippi.....is enough to power the entire city with this technology...and it's fledgling technology! Imagine what we will learn if we're the first to implement and develop it.

I know I'm on another Mag-Lev Monorail pipe dream....but fuck you if you can't take a dream. This is within the realm of possibility. Maybe we could even run the Monorail along the Mississippi and power it from intermittent cylinder fields running all the way to St. Paul...wouldn't that be something?

7 comments:

Clay said...

I'd love to engineer a massive "run of the river" powerplant.

One small math note: it's 3.5 knots and 3 miles. A nautical mile is 1.15 statute miles, therefore 3 nautical miles per hour (knots) are equivalent to about 3.5 mph.

Dambala said...

Surely you didn't expect me to get the math right.

KamaAina said...

Surely you meant to tell Entergy to "go cheney themselves"... but seriously, access to cheap hydropower has gone hand in hand with American industry from colonial New England to the modern-day Pacific Northwest. Why not us? One wonders if an existing structure such as Old River Control above Baton Rouge might be fitted with these.

Dambala said...

what is Old River Control? Is it a lock?

K, it does confound me how Hyrdro is so overlooked when it's been proven to be so effective.

This would be such an amazing thing to do for N.O....the press alone would make it worth it.

KamaAina said...

Old River Control is not a lock but a dam-like structure that (so far) keeps the Mississippi from shifting course into the Atchafalaya, which would leave the city (and Baton Rouge, etc.) marooned on a backwater. As you can imagine, it handles massive amounts of water, particularly in flood season. A few dozen of these devices up there ought to do it...

Clay said...

Old River Control structure is a COE project that controls the flow of the Mississippi between the Atchafalaya and the Lower MS (past Baton Rouge and NOLA).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_River_Control_Structure

70% of the water heads by NOLA, 30% by the Atchafalaya, by congressional mandate.

A few years ago, the ORCS almost collapsed because the engineers accidentally left a hydraulic jump in behind the platform and that scoured out almost the entire foundation. Had it not been for some fast engineering, half of the Acadiana parishes would have been wiped out and New Orleans would have collapsed because the river running by it would have been a muddy, polluted creek.

lil'oya said...

totally completely seriously, i have tossed this around 3 years ago when the revolution was supposed to start - jet turbines in the river.

the sediment is a problem. what we'd do is set up a pre-filtration system that would also set the water moving in an aligned direction.

i'm so ready.