A Florida-based startup called Crowd Energy will be turning to Indiegogo to continue work on its Ocean Energy Turbine, a slow-turning mill that its creators believe can harness megawatts of clean power from just a single unit — enough to light thousands of homes.
"Imagine giant rivers flowing on the seafloor."
Underwater turbines are nothing new, but this concept is a little different: instead of mimicking the shape and functionality of a wind turbine, Crowd Energy's unit is equipped with giant shutters that open and close on giant paddles that spin deep on the ocean floor. It already has a small proof of concept built, but the company wants to go way bigger; for its first production model, it's looking to build a unit 100 feet across that would generate over 13 megawatts. "Imagine giant rivers flowing on the seafloor. This is how the idea of the Ocean Energy Turbine originated," explains founder Todd Janca.
If Crowd Energy's concept ever actually makes it into the ocean, observers would be looking closely to see whether it has any impact on sea life — though the paddles would rotate very slowly, the opening and closing shutters could prove to be a danger. Bird deaths have helped sully the reputation of wind turbines, but considering the dirty and dangerous alternatives, threats to wildlife might be seen by nations and power companies as the lesser of all evils.