The Tidal Irrigation and Electrical System

renewable energy, carbon dioxide sink, biodiesel, and food from the ocean

Electricity Infrastructure

Martin on Apr 12th 2008

The best way to export electricity from a power plant is by high voltage cable. The electricity can be sent long distances (hundreds of kilometers) with relatively little loss of energy due to resistance but eventually so much power is lost that it must be assessed if that is the proper method for exportation. As most of the locations in which conditions are maximized for the Tidal Irrigation and Electrical System’s production of bio-diesel and electricity are far from industrial and urban centers this assessment will be necessary (please see Hydrogen and Other Storage Mediums).

If it is decided that the best way for the power to be sent to where it is needed is by a means other than high voltage cable, then there will need to be some adjustment at distribution points. This has happened before, several times. We went from horses, to coal, to oil and now we may be forced to add a new method of receiving our energy via storage medium.

Another compelling reason for using a storage medium for the electricity generated in a TIE System is the inefficiencies inherent in using a tidal barrage to generate alternating current (AC). The power that goes through almost all the world’s electricity grid is AC power. It is the power that comes out of your wall socket. AC delivers a steady supply of power. However, tidal energy moves from a state of no flow and then increases to maximum and then decreases to brief stop and increases again, repeating the cycle.

There are many schemes for turning this variable flow into a constant source of energy by subdividing an artificial lagoon and regulating the water intake and outlet from the subsections. This makes the tidal barrage more costly as there are more sea walls. However, there is another form of electricity, direct current (DC). This is unmodulated electricity and it is best illustrated by a string of light bulbs. In a line of bulbs powered by AC each bulb is as bright as the next. In a line of bulbs powered by DC the first bulb is the brightest and every subsequent bulb is dimmer than the one closer to the source of power. However, DC is much more efficient at delivering electricity to the first bulb than AC. So, if all of the electricity created in a TIE System was sent straight into a storage medium (see Other Storage Mediums), then the variable nature of the tidal barrage would be of no consequence. Power could be sequestered at the rate it was generated and then used as needed by fuels cells and combustion engines.