- What is tidal energy?
- Characteristics of tidal energy
- Uses of tidal energy
- Advantages of tidal energy
- Disadvantages of tidal energy
- Examples of tidal energy
We explain what tidal energy is, its main characteristics and uses. Also, its advantages, disadvantages and examples.
Tidal energy harnesses the tides to generate electricity.
What is tidal energy?
It is known as tidal energy to which is obtained from the use of the tides. Through tidal plants the Water from the sea to generate, through a system of alternators, an electrical charge that can be used in many ways.
The operation of these plants is simple: when the tide rises, the gates of the plant are opened and the water is allowed in, which will then be retained at low tide, to be released through a mechanism of turbines that will transform the kinetic or potential energy of water in electricity.
The use of tidal energy can take place in three different ways:
- Tidal current generators. Also called TSG (from the English Tidal Stream Generators), take advantage of the movement of water to convert Kinetic energy in electricity, just as wind power plants do with the wind.
- Tidal dams. They operate as described above, taking advantage of the potential energy of dammed water to mobilize generating turbines.
- Dynamic tidal energy. Also called DTP (from EnglishDynamic Tidal Power), combines the previous two: it consists of a system of large dams that induce different tidal phases in the water, to later mobilize their generating turbines.
In the case of plants that take advantage of ocean waves instead of tides, it will be called wave energy and not tidal energy.
Characteristics of tidal energy
Despite its effectiveness, producing tidal power is extremely expensive.
However, the relationship between the construction cost of tidal power plants, the environmental impact and landscaping they have, and the amount of electric power produced, makes it a technology expensive and ineffective, which has prevented its popularization in the world.
Uses of tidal energy
Tidal energy is used as a source of electrical energy to power small towns or industrial facilities. This electricity can be used to illuminate, heat or activate mechanisms of all kinds.
Advantages of tidal energy
The advantages of this type of energy lie in the total absence of raw material consumable, since the tides are infinite and inexhaustible in human terms, which makes tidal energy a form of renewable, inexhaustible and economic energy, which does not fluctuate according to the prices of an input in the international market, as occurs with the Petroleum.
On the other hand, it does not by-produce chemical or toxic elements whose disposal implies an additional effort, as is the case with radioactive plutonium from the nuclear energy or with the gases of greenhouse effect that releases the combustion of fossil hydrocarbons.
Disadvantages of tidal energy
The main drawback of this form of energy is how ineffective it is, it can give electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes in ideal cases, but through colossal investments that have a quite negative landscape and environmental effect, since it must intervene directly. at Marine ecosystem. This makes the relationship between the cost of manufacturing the plant, the ecological damage and the amount of energy obtained not very profitable.
Examples of tidal energy
The La Rance tidal plant produces electricity for 225,000 inhabitants.
Some examples of tidal plants are:
- La Rance tidal plant. Located in France and inaugurated in 1996, it produces electricity for 225,000 inhabitants, which is not negligible (9% of the electricity in Brittany). Its facilities are 390 m long and 33 m wide, and a 22 km² reservoir.
- Sihwa Lake Tidal Plant. Built in South Korea on Lake Sihwa, about 4 km from the town of the same name, generates around 254 MW of electricity and has the largest tidal facilities in the world: a boardwalk 12.5 km long. length and an account of 30 km².
- Tidal Lagoon tidal plant. Planned in Great Britain, in the UK, in Swansea Bay, it will match La Rance in capacity and generate about 240 MW of electricity. About 850 million pounds of sterling are earmarked for the project. budget and its construction began in 2013.