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Tidal Power

Using one of the most reliable phenomena we have on the planet, (more predictable than the wind or even the conditions for solar power) tidal power counts on the inevitable flow of the great expanses of water we have at our disposal. Similar to wave power (which actually harnesses the wind over the water) tidal power uses the energy that pushes and pulls the waves to power sets of turbines. We have been using tidal power since 1966 when Rance Tidal Power Station was completed in France. Although this isn’t the most efficient power source, new ides in the field such as dynamic tidal power hope to change the way we use the waves.

Hydroelectricity

Based on the idea of the water wheel, which powered mills for thousands of years before electricity came around, the dam, as we know it today is a fantastic source of renewable energy that we often forget. Using the flow of water and gravity to some degree, machines intercept gallons of the stuff as it makes its way down to the sea. Dams have been famously erected in several big cities but the potential to build more is something governments are sitting on. With each continent only using up to a maximum of 30% of its potential sites for hydroelectric dams, a global movement in this direction could see a stop to the energy crisis.

Dams do not take away any water, they can alter their output on demand and they don’t cause the emissions that fossil fuels do, so the real question is what are we waiting for?

Batteries

Of course, it may not be a source of energy per se but batteries are usually our go to when we need an energy source for our electronic devices. The problem that a lot of clean energy companies are faced with is the fact that they can take in a great deal of energy from natural sources but they don’t have the ability to efficiently store it. Homeowners and businesses with solar panels for example end up sending a large percentage of the power they have captured back into the grid instead of using it. This is because we simply don’t have the battery power in our homes to store great deals of energy.

Thanks to water however there have been several innovations that make this clean and universal element an astounding battery, and one that actually trumps carbon batteries in several ways. The saltwater battery uses a mix of electrolyte in water to retain the energy that runs through it with great efficiency. Companies such as Aquion are already shipping batteries to customers around the globe. With saltwater the battery has no risk of catching fire, no acid or chemical leaks and is of course hugely sustainable. The ideas don’t stop here as water based batteries are in their infancy, recently Stanford Proffessor Yi Cui created a prototype manganese-hydrogen battery that also uses water which could revolutionise the way we store power in the future.