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Harvesting hurricane power

Build ships with windmills on them and send to center of a hurricane
  [vote for,

As we all know, tropical huricanes have a lot of power. They usually form in the middle of an ocean and then trawel towards the land. Watching hurricane report on news i came up with an idea-what if we build ships with windmills on them and send them into the hurricane? The energy, harvested with windmills, could pump compressed air into canisters, generate hydrogen from sea water or accumulate energy by any other way. After the harvesting accumulators could be brought ashore and the accumulated energy put into the grid. As the hurricane ends, these ships could go hunting for the next hurricane. Of course, ships could be wide catamarans with underwater stabilizers so hurricane wont tip them over. All we need is strong ship design, strong windmill design and a way to accumulate big amounts of power. Ships could also store energy in special unmanned submarines with accumulators within them, that could either travel to the shore or stay submerged so other special ship could pick them all after hurricane harvesting is over.
dreamtechnics, Feb 06 2011


       A large hurricane has been known to produce 200 ft tall waves in it's center. Better be some good strong ships and some brave sailors.
cudgel, Feb 07 2011

       //and send to center of a hurricane//
The centre is the eye, which is calm.
coprocephalous, Feb 07 2011

       By saying "center" i meant where the winds are highest, i.e. near the center, not in the calm eye
dreamtechnics, Feb 07 2011

       Welcome to the halfbakery. I think this idea has some merit, maybe the implementation needs some more work. Floating windmills with heavy ballast that could be sent by remote control to the heavy wind area...unmanned.
xandram, Feb 07 2011

       Flotillas of largish inflatable buoys, deployed by submarines, with remotely collectable batteries housed in the central buoy, to be collected after the storm.
RayfordSteele, Feb 07 2011

       Indeed, welcome to the HB, [DT].   

       Problem is....   

       Suppose the hurricane gives you 120mph winds. Suppose also you can build a windmill that can harvest that energy with some reasonable efficiency.   

       What proportion of its working time is the windmill going to spend in a hurricane? I'm guessing not a huge percentage - hurricanes tend to occur sporadically over large areas, and the ship will spend most of its time running from hurricane to hurricane.   

       Then, think of a regular windmill build on land or in shallow water, where it gets an average windspeed of (I don't know but say) 10mph. It will be working whenever the wind blows (most of the time, in a good location). It can be as big as you like. And it doesn't need moving around all the time. Plus it can feed directly into the grid, without the losses associated with storing the energy.   

       My guess is that the static windmill will be wayyyyyy more efficient (in terms of cost per kWh) than the one chasing hurricanes around.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 07 2011


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