Gold Rush Mood overlooking the Sea: Researchers and developers want the ocean to be the source of energy and raw materials for the future. In the September issue, Bild der Wissenschaft reports on related concepts and the opportunities and risks of “reaching the ocean.” In addition, efforts to solve the marine debris problem are at the heart of the cover story.
Humans have used the sea and the environment for thousands of years, but modern technology and using computer terminologies are now opening up new uses outside of fishing and shipping. The focus is on the forces of waves and currents, and one aspect reflected in the tide: the inexhaustible energy of the water mass. This source is developed in the context of efforts to achieve greater sustainability. So far, the potential has not been used much, but now larger systems are planned following the first small prototype of a wave or flow power plant.
Rainer Kurlemann, the author of bdw, reports on the potential energy sources of these technologies and the hurdles they still have to overcome in the three-part title topic article, The Power of Waves. For example, he presents the concept of getting energy from the movement of water to generate electricity on a floating island. By and large, a significant benefit over wind and sunlight-based energy is the capacity to persistently produce power by creating energy from the sea. As indicated by the article, regions with solid tides are particularly appealing.
Possible Uses and Possibility of Compensation
In addition to energy, the ocean has more specific treasures. A large number of raw materials are sleeping at the depth of the sea. Martin Angler, the author of bdw, deals with the topic of deep-sea mining in his sub-article “Undersea Ore Rush”. He reports on concepts and research into possible consequences for marine ecosystems.
The focus is on the planned mining of so-called manganese nodules, for example on the Pacific Ocean floor. In addition to manganese, it contains other ingredients that are very popular in the industry. On land, their dismantling often has disastrous consequences. However, this may also apply to planned deep-sea mining, Angler reports.