Norwegian group claims world’s first seabed energy storage technology

Norwegian research scientists claim to have devised the technology that will make it possible to store energy on the seabed for later use in an electrical power grid. Their announcement comes on top of a similar announcement from a Toronto company, backed by the MaRS Cleantech Fund, which is working to bring the same concept to market. The main difference between the two techniques is that the Toronto group’s model works by using compressed air, while the Norwegian model uses the difference in pressure between the surface and the seabed.

The German inventor and founder of Subhydro AS says that his concept makes use of the enormous energy potential that exists in the weight of the seawater. As an example of the force, he used the opening of a submarine hatch. “The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utitilze.”

Norway-SINTEF-electricity-storage-seabed-technology-Cleantech-EDIWeekly

Acknowledging that “many people” have worked on the idea of storing energy by exploiting the pressure of the seabed, Rainer Schramm claims that “we are the first in the world to apply a specific patent-pending technology to make this possible.”

The work is being done at SINTEF, a research facility with experts in energy generation, materials technology and deep-water technology. The process they describe converts the mechanical energy of the water pressure at the seabed by a “reversible pump turbine” as is used in a regular hydroelectric plant. The turbine is fitted with a valve; when the valve is opened, water flows in and turns the turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. The number of turbines connected together is potentially limitless. The greater the number of tanks connected, the more electricity they can generate.

The deeper the turbines are placed, the better they work, as the pressure will be greater. The greater the pressure difference between the sea surface and the seabed, the more energy is stored in a single tank.

As each water tank fills with water, the turbine must be run in reverse to empty the tanks, meaning that the tank functions as a pump. While the process of emptying the tanks consumes energy, Schramm says that the degree of electric storage efficiency is approximately 80 per cent.

The Toronto version of water-pressurized energy storage uses pressurized air stored in large receptacles on the seabed. When the stored energy of the compressed air is required, the air is pumped to the surface by means of the water pressure, where it drives an “expander” that generates electricity.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • What's old is new again: Airship innovation, the Lighter-Than-Air aircraft
  • Thunder Bay wind farm gets government approval
  • China’s Drive for Clean Energy Results in Winter Gas Shortage
  • Bombardier's Learjet 85 completes first flight
  • Manufacturing sales off in November led by cars, chemicals
  • 50,000 smaller Ontario manufacturers miss out on the 17 per-cent cut to electricity bills
  • Scientists control superconductivity using spin currents
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada to invest $275 million in Quebec plant
  • Renewable energy use increased in US in 2012
  • Canadian Solar to supply solar mega-projects in Ontario and Turkey
  • Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters
  • Flyboard "hoverboard" becomes real — beyond recreation, this spectacular tech may have practical applications
  • SpaceX lost 40 satellites to solar storm, estimated cost of $10 to $20 million
  • Vanadium dioxide (VO2) metal conducts electricity — with ten times less heat
  • GE investment in Welland "Brilliant Factory" to bring 220 jobs
  • Eleventh hour intervention by Marchionne secured Fiat Chrysler deal
  • May manufacturing sales higher on petroleum, cars
  • Study on the Effects of Space on Humans Has Interesting Results
  • Major iron ore mine gets approval in Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Provinces of Alberta and B.C. cashing in on drilling rights; surpasses 2016 as commodities strengthen
Scroll to Top