Researchers from Taiwan’s National Sun Yat Sen University told the media yesterday, that Japan was not the first country to generate power from an ocean current as claimed in Japanese media this month.
On August 14, a Japanese team in association with industrial machinery manufacturer IHI Corp conducted a 5-day test off the coast of Japan’s southeastern Kuchinoshima Island in the Kagoshima Prefecture, achieving a maximum power generation capacity of 30 kilowatts.
The experiment demonstrated that power could be generated from the Kuroshio Current, a long held dream of Japanese scientists, some of whom have been discussing the possibility since the late 1970s.
Japanese media reported that the test was the first of its kind and that it was the first time electricity had been generated in the Kuroshio current, and the first time power had been generated by an ocean current. Previously, only tidal currents have been used to generate electricity.
Vice President of Sun Yat Sen University Chen Yang-yi (陳陽益) refuted the claims, pointing out that a team from Sun Yat Sen University that successfully generated electricity from the Kuroshio Current off the coast of Pingtung County in July last year.
Chen said that Taiwan’s experiment had not only preceded Japan’s by one year, the efficiency of the Taiwan team’s generator surpassed those of the Japan test. The Japanese team used a generator with a maximum of 100kW to generate a maximum 30kW, which represents a 30% efficiency. The Taiwanese team used a generator with a maximum capacity of 50kW to generate 26.31kW, which demonstrates a 52% efficiency.