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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2008
    The newest bit of jargon from the power sector is “hydrokinetic power”, the catch-all phrase for wave and run-of-river (damless) hydro power.

    Despite the hideous name, this is looking like the wave of the future. (Sorry, somebody had to say it).

    H-power is estimated to have the potential to provide 10% of US power needs and is growing rapidly - too rapidly according to people worried by the issue of up to 100 “expedited licenses” ny the US government.

    Damless hydro (or “river power”) has gotten a big kick along in the last couple of years from new cheaper more environmentally friendly designs. Floating turbines or turbines suspended on pylons are much cheaper and quicker to build than conventional hydro. You also avoid both the carbon dioxide emissions from millions of tons of cement and the methane released from vegetation on flooded land.

    It sounds promising but no-one knows the impact of several thousand such projects on a major river system like the Mississippi.

    But it looks like we’re abut to find out.

    On February 13, 2008, FERC issued a preliminary permit to a limited partnership for study of the Mississippi River in Mississippi County, Missouri, and Alexander County, Illinois, despite objections to the process from those states. That project would consist of 4,100 proposed 20-kilowatt in-river Free Flow generating units having a total installed capacity of 82 megawatts.
    • CommentAuthorsacredchao
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2008
    Pretty impressive sounding, on paper. Assuming it works, I'm all for it. It would be nice for some kind of non-polluting power source that doesn't have the political baggage associated with solar power.
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2008
    I wonder how they keep the things from eventually getting clogged up with silt? I'm sure it's a solved problem or regular hydro power wouldn't work, but it's gotta be more of an issue for turbines just sitting close to the bottom of a river.
    • CommentAuthorPooka
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2008
    i'm just curious about the enviromental factors...what harm does it cause?
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2008
    Seems like it could eat fish...

    Except the anti fish food one...
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2008
    4,100 proposed 20-kilowatt in-river Free Flow generating units

    This sounds like it might be a good idea but that's more than Four Thousand mostly submerged additional navigational hazards in the river system. I imagine you have to put these things in the middle of the river to get them to work as well. I imagine you also need to run cabling to the shoreline though that is submersed I guess? Sounds like putting a lot of harware into the river where idiots will hit it with their boats.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2008

    Besides all the construction work, off the top of my head, enough of these devices would significantly slow a river and that'd cause silt to drop out of suspension upstream from where it would normally.

    I'm pretty much a technophile but having seen the messes people made with other technologies, I'd like to think we'd be a bit smarter this timr round and work out the potential problems up front.
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2008
    given the decidedly neutral affect that the reservoirs have had on areas that were supposed to become more economically viable with a recreation area near them, i sincerely hope that the amount of study that is done answers more questions than "what kind of marketing do we need to sell folks on this new piece of metal that we're going to use to line the river?"

    my experience with scientists who try very hard to work around the mistakes that US government sponsored bio-control researchers have made in data analysis and experiment design suggests a vastly different outcome.

    silt build-up, rate of water flow, ecological impact (actual, not supposed), water temperature, river usage characteristics, impact on human development on river banks and the economies dependent on the river, etc., etc., etc. it's just not enough to have the capability to make a cool new toy and find a really big playground for it.

    (short-sighted fucktards.
    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2008
    Hmm, isn't this just the plain old watermill? The kind that has been around for centuries. Of course, hydrokinetic power sounds much more marketable... The big question, as most of you have pointed out, is scalability, given the side-effects of large scale deployment may produce.
  1.  (1191.10)
    Lex, I tended to focus on the run o river hydro but "hydrodynamic power" also includes tida;l and wave power.

    The principle behind th run of river stuff is similar ot the windmill but, obviously, the technology is quite different. Some of the designs involve building permanent structures anchored to the river bed which is also quite different to the common concept of a watermill.