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Generating Power From Ocean Buoys and Kites 131

cheezitmike writes "Researchers at Oregon State University are testing a new type of wave-energy converter to generate electricity from ocean waves: 'Even when the ocean seems calm, swells are moving water up and down sufficiently to generate electricity. ... For decades the challenge has been to build a device that can withstand monster waves and gale-force winds, not to mention corrosive saltwater, seaweed, floating debris and curious marine mammals. ... In the most recent prototypes, a thick coil of copper wire is inside the first component, which is anchored to the seafloor. The second component is a magnet attached to a float that moves up and down freely with the waves. As the magnet is heaved by the waves, its magnetic field moves along the stationary coil of copper wire. This motion induces a current in the wire — electricity.'" Meanwhile, researchers at Stanford are working to design "turbine kites" that operate at 30,000 feet, where air currents flow much faster than they do close to the ground. Ken Caldeira, a Stanford associate professor, said, "If you tapped into 1% of the power in high-altitude winds, that would be enough to continuously power all civilization."

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