Like Windmills, but Underwater

Like Windmills, but Underwater

Jonathan B.
Aug 14, 2007

Imagine harnessing the energy in a river. Now imagine this: it's been going on for a few weeks. On Monday, The New York Times ran this piece, which includes video, about the electricity-generating turbines that Verdant Power installed in the East River, not far from Roosevelt Island.

Just one problem is keeping the turbines from operating: the river's current is much stronger than expected, and the turbines are falling apart.

We're optimistic about the potential for technology like this, but a bit perplexed by the quote from Trey Taylor, the company's founder, who is reported to have said, "the only way for us to learn is to get the turbines into the water and start breaking them." While we're big fans of rapid prototyping, we're hoping he was quoted incorrectly—or perhaps he "misspoke"—but it occurs to us that perhaps a few engineers with experience designing, say, ship propellers could help the company make stronger turbines.

When Verdant gets all the kinks worked out, we think this will be a promising source of renewable power.

AT readers, if you've shopped at the Gristedes supermarket mentioned in the article, we'd especially like to know what they're doing to tell their customers about this innovative source of electricity.

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