Monday, March 31, 2008

Tidal Power for Vietnam?

Last Fall I was riding my bike along the San Francisco Bay and I was struck by an idea. If you look across the bay, you can see it's a huge body of water. Between high and low tides, an impressive mass of water is shifted by a meter or so. What if you could harness the movement of that mass? I thought about it and came up with the simple idea for generating electricity from this tidal flow. It turns out that there are a lot of folks who have had this idea. I did some searching around but didn't find any similar inventions, until I ran across these guys at Tidal Electric. It turns out they patented a very similar idea about 10 years ago. At least my idea was worth a patent, if not by me. If you're interested in the topic, they have a very nice history and some good animations of how tidal power generation works. My idea was basically this animation but with a turbine stuck in one of the walls to generate electricity from the flow.

I think that this kind of power generation would work well for Vietnam. The country is pretty much all coast. Building tidal power generation here seems like a good match. The country is growing like crazy, and there are regular power shortages, especially at the end of the rainy season when the hydro power runs out. Anyone know of any tidal power generation projects happening in Vietnam?

I seems the folks at Tidal Electric did some sort of deal with China back in 2004. I wonder how that is working out over three years later...