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Renewable Energy Discussion on various alternative energy, renewable energy, & free energy technologies. Also any discussion about the environment, global warming, and other related topics are welcome here.

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Old 02-21-2013, 01:07 PM
Pal Pal is offline
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Gravity as an Energy Source

Hydroelectric energy is a renewable resource; around the world small and large hydro dams convert the gravitational force of the weight of falling water into electricity. But water can also lift up enormous weights several meters high: observe how large ships, barges, ocean liners, oil tankers and containers ships are gently raised and lowered in the locks of canals around the world, and on the surface of the oceans in time of tides. The up and downward movement of ships in locks, if balanced by a counterweight placed just outside the lock’s wall could be regarded as a quasi see-saw system.

Suppose one builds a new lock a few meters from an existing lock, and upstream divides the canal and channels water into this new lock. Then manoeuvres a large decommissioned barge, which is earmarked for the scrap yard, into this new lock, and constructs a series of heavy counterweights on both sides of the lock underground. Overhead, the barge and the counterweights are connected by bicycle chain-like steel cables over rolling drums (pulleys). The axel of the drums rotates reversible turbines. A modified gantry crane houses the cables, drums and turbines.

See FIG. 1 attached.

Figure 1 shows an open gantry crane. To ensure continuous up and down movement of the barge, this new lock is closed. Before activating the lock, at the lower gate (now a cement wall) a window is cut to drain the water (at the canal’s water level as the water is channelled back to the canal). After the water and the barge entered the lock and the upper gate is closed, and again a door is cut at the water level, and the lock is closed permanently. Now the lock looks like a bathtub, water enters on the top and drains at the bottom. Turbines are installed at the inflow and outflow of water, generating additional electricity non-stop as the system works automatically only the opening and closing the window and the door have to be regulated. In order to increase the capacity of the system the lock can be lengthened and two barges could be manoeuvred into the lock chamber, doubling the output.

Another possibility, the lock can be widened and made into two locks each housing a large barge, and instead of weights, the two barges could be linked to each other, with 2 large V shaped steel teeter totters with cables, each barge would be the others counterweight. The two locks would be filled up alternately. The water flow could be adjusted so that the chamber being filled up would be slightly faster so that the other (sinking) barge would be heavier, similar to an elevator which has only 2 equal counterweights but one side is heavier than the other, thus taking advantage of the regenerative factor. It is also possible to increase the weight of the barges by filling them up with rocks, scrap iron or other “fake” cargo that has a heavier specific gravity than water. This presupposes that there is plenty of water available to raise those super heavy barges.

OTHER METHODS Near current canal routes a parallel waterway could be built, thus supplying water in an open narrow channel, trench, aqueduct or underground pipeline, to a reservoir. Below the reservoir another closed lock could be erected, and before filling it with water, a new barge-like floating hull could be assembled, with weights, etc. right in the dry lock. This new lock could be larger than the other transportation locks. And if, for example, the nearby canal has 5-6 locks, taking advantage of the land formation only 3-4 locks would be needed to reach the outflow of the 2 parallel canals, but these new locks would be deeper and would have greater capacity. At the head of each of these locks a small reservoir would stabilize water flow, and most importantly the same amount of water would perform the same work as it flows through 3-4 locks.

Engineered waterways and locks would not have to conform to the established style, various sizes and shape of locks could be designed. Perhaps it will be possible to identify and locate near major sources of water such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers, above or below barrages on rivers, and find dry valleys or hills and slopes of land which are at a lower elevation, than the water source, and divert water to such places, and construct reservoirs and engineered locks. The new locks could be very wide linked with each other almost as if they were rafts, in some places width could compensate for depth. Water could be returned to the sea or used for irrigation in dry areas. Global warming is expected to turn large areas of the world into arid land and reduce waters in lakes and rivers. Medium and smaller dams could lose their capacity due to climate change and sedimentation and would have less water available which would make engineered locks more acceptable. In case of surplus water, heavy rains, floods may result in higher reservoir levels, and surplus water flowing over the dams, this water could be captured and utilized. New waterways and locks undoubtedly produce far less electricity than large dams but have fewer adverse environmental consequences. They are merely meant to supplement and enhance global electricity production.

PRESENT CANALS AND LOCKS Thousands of tonnes of cargo pass through the major canals of the world in rather large ships every year. How to exploit such enormous weight? Well, for example, by retrofitting some locks with large flexible padded soft carpet-like steel platforms at the bottom of the locks, resembling the floor of a cage. This carpet-like platform could be attached on the long sides to a series of steel cables which would loop around a drum connected to weights along both sides of the lock. Actually the platform would lie on the lock floor and gravity of the weights would pull it up to under the ship which just entered the lock. As the lower gate opens the ship sinks to the level of the lower canal pulling up the counterweights from underground to ground level. Before the ship exits the lock the weights are stopped and the platform automatically uncoupled, and with the help of extra cables the platform is dropped to the floor of the lock so that the ship can exit unhindered.

See FIG. 2 attached.

Then the extra cables raise the platform slightly, the main cables are re-coupled with the platform and gravity raises it to the required level. This procedure requires installing a brake system which stops the weights at various levels as ships come in different sizes and depths. Normally quick transit through the canal is essential for its maximum use. However some ships could remain in the lock and be refloated 2 or 3 times to generate extra power.

The rough sketches are not exact but are merely meant to visually convey the concepts presented here. These ideas demonstrate the possibility of exploiting the energy of different water levels, man-made or natural. Perhaps individuals with the appropriate knowledge and expertise could calculate the feasibility of these suggestions or expand, modify or at least figure out better methods of exploiting gravity. see also gravity as energy source land ideas

Any feedback about these ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by Pal : 04-20-2013 at 06:40 PM. Reason: see also gravity as energy source land ideas
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:28 PM
Ein~+ein Ein~+ein is offline
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Building additional locks on busy waterways just for this purpose simply for isn't practical. A simpler and more effective option would be to forget about the vessel and just place generator turbines in the water intake and exit ports for each and every lock. How many locks have this?

That's the earth's gravity but the moon's gravity is another under-developed source of power. Back in '82, I saw my first tidal generating station on Canada's east coast Bay of Fundy where the tides are the highest in the world. Come to think of it, how many floating docks, peers, etc could be generating power?

I didn't pay that close attention but on PESN's Smart Scarecrow last December, Mark Dansie (who nixes almost all FE claims) mentioned a promising gravity-based device based on some kind of floatation.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:54 PM
Pal Pal is offline
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Thank you Ein~+ein for your suggestions. Indeed the best idea is to retrofit locks with turbines at the outflow and inflow. None of the locks seem to have that. Moreover some of the canals are closed during the winter for several months e.g. Welland canal (Niagara by-pass)

Extra engineered locks near existing transport canals, supplied by underground aqua ducts would supplement the power output because they would work all year around.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:12 AM
Ein~+ein Ein~+ein is offline
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In some places, solid structures known as breakwaters are built a distance from shore to protect harbours or prevent coastline erosion but wouldn't a stretch of wave generating platforms tethered to the sea-bed provide the same protection while generating electrical power? And how much power, say, in comparison to a wind turbine, for an equivalent initial investment?
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:57 PM
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Harvey Harvey is offline
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Hi Pal,

The concept is valid and already in use:
Annapolis Royal Generating Station - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tidal power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some variant ideas:
Tidal Power - Generating electricity from tidal currents

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Old 02-26-2013, 01:34 AM
Ein~+ein Ein~+ein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey View Post
Hi Pal,
The concept is valid and already in use:
Thanks for the link, Harvey. Seems we've gone from barges to barrages.
Tidal barrages make use of the potential energy in the difference in height (or head) between high and low tides. When using tidal barrages to generate power, the potential energy from a tide is seized through strategic placement of specialized dams. When the sea level rises and the tide begins to come in, the temporary increase in tidal power is channeled into a large basin behind the dam, holding a large amount of potential energy. With the receding tide, this energy is then converted into mechanical energy as the water is released through large turbines that create electrical power though the use of generators.[9] Barrages are essentially dams across the full width of a tidal estuary.
This is interesting:
A study was commissioned by the Canadian, Nova Scotian and New Brunswick Governments (Reassessment of Fundy Tidal Power) to determine the potential for tidal barrages at Chignecto Bay and Minas Basin – at the end of the Fundy Bay estuary. There were three sites determined to be financially feasible: Shepody Bay (1550 MW), Cumberline Basin (1085 MW) and Cobequid Bay (3800 MW). These were never built despite their apparent feasibility in 1977.[11]
But what was built was the station Harvey mentioned:
The first tidal power site in North America is the Annapolis Royal Generating Station, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, which opened in 1984 on an inlet of the Bay of Fundy.[15] It has 20 MW installed capacity.
All from Tidal power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I'm wondering how tidal would compare to wind and solar from a return on investment perspective. That '77 study was done when oil prices only started to increase.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:54 PM
Pal Pal is offline
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Hello Harvey and Ein++ein than you for alerting me for the tidal energy websites, here is the link to my ideas regarding tidal energy


Tidal Energy Idea
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