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Wave-powered Submarine

Because the sun don't shine much 90m down
  [vote for,

The search for an environmentally-sound method of powering submersible seacraft continues. Elsewhere on this site someone has proposed a solar-powered submarine. Unfortunately, after about 90m depth in the clearest ocean waters, sunlight has been diluted to about 10% of it's original strength.

Lateral thought leads me to examine the natural environment for submarines - the sea. The sea is always wavy, and methods of extracting energy from the waves has existed for a while.

Therefore yer ecologically-approved submarine would have one or more floating wave chambers connected to the craft by means of a very long winched cable. The chambers would work in the same way as conventional shore-based wave chambers.

Fine for all but those crossings underneath the polar ice.

PeterSilly, Oct 28 2003

Absorption of Sunlight in the World's Oceans http://oceanworld.t...06/chapter06_10.htm
[PeterSilly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Wave chambers for Duffers http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1651496.stm
[PeterSilly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Wave-powered boat http://www.rexresea...oats/1boat.htm#wave
[spiraliii, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Fluffynuggets' link http://starbulletin...04/news/story6.html
[PeterSilly, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       An environmentally friendly sumarine is an oxymoron. Submarines are military devices, and offensive/defensive factors take precedence over all else. Just look at the Navy's use of supercavitation and intense sonar: both are implicated in serious damage to the fish and mammal populations of the seas.   

       Whatever the slight environmental advantage to using waves over nuclear fuel, it is more than offset by the destruction entailed by the other technologies on board.
DrCurry, Oct 28 2003

       //Submarines are military devices// - oo, I disagree on that one. There are many survey submarines that simply observe marine life or survey the ocean floor. While it may be true that military subs cause damage and have different priorities, you can't tar all submarines with the same brush.
PeterSilly, Oct 28 2003

       I suspect that there are more research and private subs than there are military subs.
bristolz, Oct 28 2003

       Since your generator needs to float on the surface anyway, is there an advantage over just putting solar panels at the end of your cable?   

       Would you get more power than it costs to drag either one around? Maybe you'd want to "follow" (or be towed by) the floater as much as possible and get some pull from surface currents.   

       I wonder if you could fix retractable sails to the hull and follow fast deep currents like the gulf stream. [Or maybe, as Freefall points out two annotations down, this is an embarrassingly stupid idea.]
Monkfish, Oct 28 2003

       On the surface of the ocean, radially above your submarine, is a little man in a sailboat, frantically blowing the sail so he can get back to shore.
Detly, Oct 28 2003

       sails are only necessary on a boat because you usually don't want to go exactly where the ocean currents are going, and the air is probably going faster anyway. Sails as a directional control only work since the hull is there to guide you in the direction you want to go. Without the interaction with the water, you'd simply go along with the wind. Sails on a submarine would be useless, as the sub would naturally drift along with the current, and sails would offer no benefit. The same is true for unpowered blimps and hot-air balloons.
Freefall, Oct 28 2003

       (Anno written while cranky revised) : [Freefall] - I was making a joke. ;)
Detly, Oct 28 2003

       unless the sub is large enough not to also move with the waves there would be no energy created and if the sub was large enough the energy created may not be enough to power the sub.... but i would not know until i saw it tested.   

       here is another site on the wave energy buoy (power buoy)   

fluffynuggets, Oct 28 2003

       Would a group of submarines be called a Mexican Wave Powered Submarine??
Supercruiser, Oct 29 2003

       This is a really neat idea, many "civil" submarines don't travel vast distances anyway, most of then are carried aboard big research ships, so, if the research ship had solar panels to re-charge the sub batteries before it submerges, then the sub uses "wave generated power" to keep it's electric motors running, mainly to manouver, maintain position. How about using fibre optic technology to transmit light to the subs internal and external lights (assuming most dives are done during daylight) this would also reduce the amount of power required to be produced by the "Wave generator".
Micky Dread, Oct 29 2003

       perhaps if you can grow alge from the minerals in the ocean, then feed the alge to a microbial fuel cell, you would get a lot ofpower out of it. or you can use the sails like wind-turbines to generate electricity which poweres the electric moters.
Nice coder, Jan 27 2004

       The best idea of this type is the submarine that keeps going and going based on a special substance that changes buoyancy with pressure. The sub then makes a sine wave (or whatever) through the water without much energy input -- having problem finding the link, but this was written up in the NY Times a few years back.
theircompetitor, Jan 27 2004


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