ocean energy

Combining Offshore Wind and Wave Energy Farms to Facilitate Grid Integration of Variable Renewables

Eric Stoutenburg, Ph.D. candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Stanford University

Monday, April 23, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The ocean covers 71% of the Earth's surface. It is abundant in renewable energy resources such as wind, wave, tidal, and gradients of salinity and temperature. With the exception of some offshore wind farms along the northern European coast, this vast reservoir of non-fossil fuel energy is untapped, even though roughly 40% of the world's population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. With continued development of offshore wind power in Europe and initial projects planned for the US east coast, China, and Korea, larger contributions of offshore wind power are on the horizon. Similarly, several wave energy converters are in full scale prototype testing at sea.

Development of both renewable energy sources in co-located sites may improve the electric power performance of a combined wind and wave energy farm. While wave energy is primarily a wind driven phenomenon, at a particular location and time, the energy levels in the wind and waves may be different. Analysis of wind and wave data along the US Pacific coast indicates a synergy where combining the two energy sources in a co-located offshore farm reduces the variability in electric power output. The variability of electric power from renewable energy sources has been identified as a challenge to their large scale integration in the electric grid, but combining variable resources mitigates this problem, producing smoother power output than either resource can separately.

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The Gulf Oil Spill - Where Did All the Oil Go?

Terry Hazen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Monday, January 10, 2011 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All

The explosion on April 20, 2010 at the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, resulted in oil and gas rising to the surface and the oil coming ashore in many parts of the Gulf, it also resulted in the dispersment of an immense oil plume 4,000 feet below the surface of the water. Despite spanning more than 600 feet in the water column and extending more than 10 miles from the wellhead, the dispersed oil plume was gone within weeks after the wellhead was capped – degraded and diluted to undetectable levels. Furthermore, this degradation took place without significant oxygen depletion. Ecogenomics enabled discovery of new and unclassified species of oil-eating bacteria that apparently lives in the deep Gulf where oil seeps are common. This data suggests that a great potential for intrinsic bioremediation of oil plumes exists in the deep-sea and other environs in the Gulf of Mexico.


Brief Bio: Terry Hazen is a microbial ecologist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he heads both the Ecology Department and the Center for Environmental Biotechnology. When a deepwater oil plume was formed in the aftermath of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico this past summer, Terry Hazen led a team that was able to directly study the microbial activity within the oil plume. His report that the oil had been degraded to virtually undetectable levels within a few weeks after the damaged wellhead was finally sealed made headlines across the country.

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Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford: The Grand Challenge

Lynn Orr, Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor in Petroleum Engineering, Energy Resources Engineering Department Director, Precourt Institute for Energy



Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Franklin M. ("Lynn") Orr, Jr. became the director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford upon its establishment in 2009. He served as director of the Global Climate and Energy Project from 2002 to 2008. Orr was the Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University from 1994 to 2002. He has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1985 and holds the Keleen and Carlton Beal Chair of Petroleum Engineering in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering, and is a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research activities focus on how complex fluid mixtures flow in the porous rocks in the Earth's crust, the design of gas injection processes for enhanced oil recovery, and CO2 storage in subsurface formations. Orr is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He serves as vice chair of the board of directors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and he chairs the Science Advisory Committee for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and was a foundation board member from 1999-2008.

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Sustainable Energy Future: Scale, Tradeoffs, and Co-Benefits

Panel with Stanford Faculty: Sally Benson, Director, Global Climate and Energy Project; Pamela Matson, Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences; Lynn Orr, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy; Stephen Schneider, Melvin & Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies; Jim Sweeney, Director Precourt Energy Efficiency Center; Buzz Thompson, Co-Director Woods Institute for the Environment

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:30 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

The Stanford panelists will discuss a number of important themes and issues about energy use, impacts, and opportunities as we begin the transition to a low emission energy future. Panelists will consider economic viability, political will, resource constraints, and environmental impacts of various energy technologies at scale. They will discuss tradeoffs and how decision makers may seek co-benefits and avoid unintended consequences when making choices.

* Energy Social following the talk (Note: we do not provide venue details for social on the web)

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Renewable Ocean Energy Conversion Systems: Advancing State-of-the-Art

Julie Young, Princeton University

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

January 28, 2009 - Julie Young, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, discusses renewable ocean energy technologies. Young focuses on waves, tides, and currents as sources of marine energy, and discusses the different technologies that are able to capture energy from these sources and convert it into a usable form. The main method of conversion is underwater turbines. Young investigates the challenges of marine turbines utilizing theoretical and numerical models. There are a number of different types of turbines available, including those on a horizontal axis or a vertical axis, that offer a diverse set of benefits and costs. Wind turbines have informed the current designs in the marine energy industry. However, the marine environment poses new challenge, because there are substantial differences in the environmental stresses that the equipment will endure. Young concludes that there are many design components that will need to be addressed and improved in the coming years.
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Marine energy technology: Making waves or riding the currents?

Professor Margot Gerritsen, Energy Resources Engineering, Stanford University

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

Margot Gerritsen, associate professor of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University, discusses marine energy technology. Specifically, she provides an overview of the wave and tidal resource available worldwide and in North America, and then she reviews the state of technology to harness that energy.  Gerritsen views these technologies as in their very early days.

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Evaluation of Proposed Energy Solutions to Climate Change, Air Pollution, and Energy Security

Professor Mark Jacobson, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Stanford

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All

October 1, 2008 - Mark Jacobson, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, discusses proposed energy solutions to climate change, air pollution and energy security. Jacobson warns that global warming will accelerate even as humans clean up air pollution, and that in order to stabilize, the alternative technologies that humans implement must result in an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide. Jacobson includes many factors in his analysis: time between planning for an energy source and the actual operation, climate impact, water use, cost, risk to human health and safety, and air pollution. He recommends wind, geothermal, and hydro as viable sources for powering vehicles. He discourages further development of nuclear, carbon capture and sequestration, cellulosic ethanol, and corn ethanol.

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