Windmills turn sea into energy
By NADINE FISHER
GOLD Coast company Tidal Energy Systems International are leading the world in the development of an underwater windmill that will produce energy. The water turbine, to be tested in a Broadbeach Waters canal, has the potential to deliver environmentally clean energy to cities as well as remote communities. Tidal Energy Systems International director Aaron Davidson said he and Craig Hill had been working on the water turbine since 1999 and chariman Peter Parker had come on board a couple of years later. "We have developed a turbine housed in a duct or diffuser which creates a vortex," he said. "It has been a compilation of work by Griffith University scientists, Gold Coast City Council and Tidal Energy." Mr Davidson said these underwater windmills would be able to supply renewable energy in a greater quantum than any other source. "The underwater windmills can be floated, or fly like a kite under the water or be anchored to the seabed," he said. "The water turbines turn very slowly ? 15 to 20 rotations per minute (RPM) ? so they are not about to slice up any whales or anything and we could also put a grill or screen on the front." Mr Davidson said an underwater windmill in one metre cubed of water that was moving at one metre a second could produce 425 watts of energy. At two metres a second the energy produced increases eight-fold to 3200 watts. He said the windmills were developed with the help of Federal and State Government grants. "Currently we are building a deployment vessel and we are filling the hulls with plastic bottles, collected by TSS Primary students, to create thousands of airpockets, making it almost unsinkable. "The bottles need to be clear plastic - milk containers are not suitable - and must have lids because they must be airtight. "Because of the large number of bottles required we are hoping other schools will follow the lead of TSS and become involved in collecting bottles. All they need do is phone me (on 5535?4421) and I will organise a receptacle to be delivered to the school."