A bay that charges the batteries

Published online: Sep 15, 2010 News Soundings Online
Viewed 210 time(s)

Down East Maine's enormous tidal range - a bane to mariners - one day could be a boon to the region as a renewable source of electrical energy.

A 60-kW turbine suspended 20 feet under Maine's Cobscook Bay is producing electricity to recharge a bank of batteries that supplies power to a 41-foot utility boat at the Coast Guard station in nearby Eastport.

The 13-ton turbine, which looks like a paddle wheel, is in a rectangular frame 14 feet wide, 14 feet deep and 46 feet long. Called a cross-flow turbine, its composite blades - actually carefully sculpted foils - spin in the tidal current, which flows at a speed of up to 6 knots four times a day during the 18- to 20-foot tidal changes typical of the waters flowing into and out of the Bay of Fundy.

The turbine drives a fixed-magnet generator, which powers the unit's monitoring systems and recharges the battery bank - eight 12-volt batteries stored on a 20-foot skiff tied to the turbine's 60-foot barge, Energy Tide 2. Once the batteries are recharged, the skiff is towed to the Coast Guard station and swapped out for a second skiff loaded with batteries, which goes back to the barge for recharging.

Ocean Renewable Power Co. switched on the power for the Coast Guard Aug. 18.

The battery banks supply electricity to the 41-footer's heater, its battery charger, radio chargers and other systems while it is dockside, says Capt. Jim McPherson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.

Because Ocean Renewable Power already planned to test the tidal generator in Cobscook Bay, the Coast Guard awarded the company a $100,000 grant to put it to work supplying electricity to its station. When linked to an inverter, the battery banks supply one-third to one-half of the daily shoreside power needs of the 41-footer, says John Ferland, vice president of project development for the power company.

McPherson hopes to take alternative energy to other Coast Guard stations in Maine. "We hope to have a station one day that's completely off the grid," he says. "Zero consumption."

Read more in the November issue of Soundings magazine.

http://www.soundingsonline.com/news/dispatches/582-sept-15-2010/265552-going-with-the-flow-powers-coast-guard-boat

You May Also Be Interested In...

March 19, 2015

Carefree Boat Club adds location in Georgia

Carefree Boat Club has just opened a brand new location, adding to its ever-growing lineup.
March 17, 2015

World's fastest pontoon boat gets even faster

When you think of fast boats, a pontoon is probably pretty low on your list, just ahead of houseboats and tugboats. Brad Rowland begs to differ.
March 05, 2015

West Marine begins "Do It Yourselfie!" promotion

Show off your selfie fixing up your boat and West Marine could lend you a hand.
March 04, 2015

Pontoon Brands United

Premier Marine announced today the company will transfer the production of its Weeres and Palm Beach brands to its headquarters in Wyoming, Minn.
March 02, 2015

West Marine's New Product Review Day set for March 20

West Marine has announced the date for this year's iteration of their New Product Review Day.
February 19, 2015

Honda Marine and Coach Pontoons Are Now Partners

The PDB team has exciting news! While we were at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, Honda Marine announced their new exclusive OEM agreement with Coach Pontoons!
Follow us on Facebook!  Follow us on Instagram!  Follow us on Twitter!  Follow us on YouTube!