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Power Hardware

Re-Purposing the Netherlands' Dike System For Power Generation 132

Posted by timothy
from the let's-go-dutch dept.
vikingpower writes "Built in reaction to a major flood that killed 1,800 in the '50s, the Dutch system of dikes, sluices, surge barriers, and dams has been dubbed 'one of the seven wonders of the modern world' by the American Society of Engineers. Now there are proposals to use the system differently, e.g. as tidal power plants, by punching holes in them. Any civil engineer's mouth will probably be watering when thinking of the mega-projects this could give rise to."
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Re-Purposing the Netherlands' Dike System For Power Generation

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @04:41AM (#31965614)

    Salt water engineering is expensive and more bad jokes coming -
    extracting energy from dykes with a low head is inefficient.

    Get 10m or so height difference and it's all good, 1 or 2 m which is all this looks like holding is
    just an expensive world of pain. The energy needed for maintenance (corrosion/weed/lifeform clearing)
    will probably be more than is ever generated.

  • Re:Great idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @05:32AM (#31965768)

    Laugh, great suggestion. My apartment is in a building that's about 4m below sea level, so that means I'd be able to kayak to work directly from the lounge room. Awesome!

    Page 55 of the 2006 IEA "Key World Energy Statistics" shows that the per-capita energy use in the Netherlands is on different measures, somewhere between 0.5 and 0.75 of the USA's.

  • Re:Great idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @05:45AM (#31965818)

    More seriously though, how would this work, wouldn't they need to pump the water out afterwards, or are they hoping for tidal flow forces to do that for them?

    As per TFA:

    A hole in the Brouwersdam, for example, would allow for tides as high as 50 centimetres. The opening would make an ideal site for a tidal power plant, which is also being considered by the committee.

    And this isn't exactly a new concept either, France has had one since 1966: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rance_Tidal_Power_Station
    To be fair though, there's a 13 meter tide there instead of a mere 50 centimetres.

  • Re:Great idea (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 24, 2010 @05:54AM (#31965856)

    What the fuck is wrong with the moderators that thought this insightful?
    There is no madness in it at all. There is no, I repeat, no fossil fuel burned to keep the sea from flowing back. If you believe that then you must not have understood what a dyke is.

    The reason OP says it would save oil, is because the country would be more than halved.
    OP is either deluded or making a not-so-great joke.

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @10:01AM (#31966796) Homepage Journal

    I wasn't sure myself, so I decided to check it out:
      - According to the Meriam Webster Dyke is the British spelling of Dike: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dyke [merriam-webster.com] .
      - The Oxford Dictionary agrees: http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/dyke_1?view=uk [askoxford.com] , though the same spelling can also mean lesbian: http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/dyke_2?view=uk [askoxford.com]

    So, depending where you are either spelling will do.

  • Re:Great idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @01:26PM (#31968022) Homepage

    Think about it for a second, windmills literally suck energy out of the wind - wind that goes places and does things and is absolutely critical for most ecosystems on the planet to survive. Now, there may be absolutely nothing wrong with them at all, but it seems like we've just been rushing to use them without looking into the potential consequences. Isn't that the exact same mistake we made with oil?

    - I believe this has been looked at but a brief consultation with the Oracle didn't realize any obvious results. Perhaps I didn't feed it enough electrons.

    - The gist of the argument for deciding that there is no possible (or no likely, depending on how you trust these sorts of back of the email type calculations) significant disruption of the global ecosphere is thus:

    Wind turbines sit perhaps 30 - 100 meters above the ground.
    - The trophosphere [physicalgeography.net], or bottom of the atmosphere, contains most of the weather, water and likely energy. This goes up to around 10 km. The next layer, the stratosphere goes to about 50 km.
    - Even if you took a significant swath of energy out of the 100 meters or so that a wind turbine straddles, that comprises and infinitesimal amount of total energy of the system.
    - For those of you inclined to argue about butterflies flapping their wings and causing hurricanes, I would point out that the wind turbines may change things but that change is buried in the statistical noise.

    Or some similar handwaving argument.

  • by demonlapin (527802) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @03:13PM (#31968622) Homepage Journal
    I think what you heard of was the Qattara Depression [wikipedia.org], where hydro proposals depend on evaporation to move the water away.
  • There is no ASE (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:31AM (#31983534)

    There is no American Society of Engineers.

    Obama made them up to put words in their mouths.

    There are many American societies of engineers, but none of them is named "American Society of Engineers."

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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