Richard Navarro, Ph.D.
Renewable Ocean Energy, Inc.
What is wrong with most renewable energy systems? Wind, solar, waves, and tides all depend on the whims of nature to generate energy, so it is not possible to reliably predict power production. A good renewable energy system should produce power without carbon or nuclear emissions when you need it.
The most constant and powerful force is gravity as it holds the entire galaxy together and keeps you from floating off into space! Every minute of every day it bathes us in atmospheric pressure of 14.8 pounds per square inch. Every hydroelectric power plant uses thousands of pounds of brute force driven by gravity as the water drops from a higher location to the generator.
Is there another way instead of brute force? Growing up on the farm, I drained a 1000-gallon tank using a siphon. Could we use a siphon to move water to drive a generator?
Siphons have proven themselves for thousands of years, but no one knows exactly how they work. One theory is that atmospheric pressure is pushing down on a body of water so a submerged pipe with less pressure inside the pipe will drive the water into the pipe! 14.8 pounds of pressure will raise water about 32 feet (~10 meters) before gravity becomes the dominant force. Once started a siphon will run continuously forever without any other source of fuel. Unfortunately, siphons do not produce enough force, but they will start the water flow. To learn how we generate the force we need to produce electricity, watch my next blog.