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Waterworld redux

Growing up in Smalltown USA, I never had a want for more space. I lived in a small town, population about 2,000, where we had all of the space we wanted. It wasn’t until I moved to Northern Virginia that I began to realize how cramped a good portion of us live. As the worlds population increases, this problem is only going to get worse. So what are we supposed to do when there is no more land to give us the space we want and need? Enter Chen Xingnuo and his oceanic wind turbines

Chen designed a wind turbine that has the ability to anchor to the sea floor at depths of over 2,000 feet. The concept of the design it to allow the ocean to move freely over, around, and through the shells of the unit. This design will allow for a minimal amount of surface area that is in contact with the water, which will help stop the unit, especially the turbines, from eroding. The turbines will work the same as wind turbines on land, capturing wind to produce energy from the rotation of the turbines. The only difference is that the turbine will be in the middle of the ocean, and the energy will be stored in a floating storage facility until it is needed. Now the only thing needed would be the floating island to attach it to!

What do you guys think, is this a possible source of energy in the future? Do you see humans migrating to “floating cities” to get away from the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded land masses. I do see this technology having some benefits already. If combined with solar energy and wave energy, these turbines could be used to power our structures already out at sea, such as oil rigs (clean energy fueling the extraction of dirty energy). 

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. March 4, 2012 at 12:27 am

    I would really like to know more about the design of that underwater turbine. It’s quite intriguing as it needs to be able to be both functional and capable of producing useable quantities of energy over an extended period of time. Technically there is no species of vegetable that cannot be basically simulated by some sort of aquatic fauna, and there is plenty of protein in the form of sea creatures, so having a colony of sorts in the middle of the ocean does not seem like a really far fetched idea. I think it would take a great deal of adjustment for people to move completely away from the land, as anyone who has spent more than a few days at sea could tell you. I don’t really understand it completely, but I believe that there is a psychological boundary that would make it difficult for some people to live on the ocean surface. As for using them as a power source for oil rigs, I think it would be a great way to begin reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a permanent.

  2. xavierholmes
    March 5, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Wow that design is actually pretty awesome it’s most definitely something worth thinking about. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if during my lifetime people started living on the ocean. This concept is relatively practical compared to some things that scientists have proposed such as terraforming the surface of Mars so that people can live there. However one thing to think about in particular about this is the effect that it would have on aquatic life.

  3. March 5, 2012 at 3:56 am

    It’d be interesting to see how we dealt with these “floating cities.” Do you think it’d be allowed? All too often policy is opposed to science (take, for example, stem cell research). Do you think we’d be able to bring ourselves to accept this? Then we’d certainly have the issues of sovereignty and territory. Is it fair to say that in many instances politics serves the role of limiting science?

  4. zmackay
    March 5, 2012 at 4:40 am

    This really is a fascinating development- from so many standpoints! In addition to the technical aspect, it would be really interesting to see the sociological repercussions of this kind of situation. Typically these sort of consequences aren’t carefully planned out until after an idea has moved into the implementation phase- one of the fatal flaws of society, I believe. We’ve all seen and heard of terrible examples of how man inhabits a state of nature. Although these societies would obviously be connected to the rest of the world, it is interesting to think about how they would function, what role they would play globally. What jurisdiction would they operate under? Would entirely new cultural norms form due to their geographical separation? Who would choose to live in such an environment and how would the demographics of this population change the course of its development? I agree with you in that these are alternatives that we are going to have to consider as the global population grows.

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