DANIA BEACH – (CBS4) – Local scientists say the answer to finding green energy may be as close as the ocean.

The steady flow of the Gulf Stream, the warm ocean current that flows along the east coast of the U.S. is a blessing to South Florida because it could be used to harvest energy that could one day power homes and businesses.

“We’re blessed here in South Florida,” said Bill Laing, of Florida Atlantic University’s SeaTech institute in Dania Beach. “Right off shore, 10 to 15 miles we have one of the greatest sources of natural energy in the world. The Gulf Stream runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

To go from Gulf Stream to energy, turbines would have to be placed underwater. Engineers at FAU have teamed up with the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center to test the technology by using a motor. Once underwater, the motors won’t be needed. The rushing current will power it, making it like a windmill underwater.

Just one of these turbines can power about 10 homes — it can also produce hydrogen to fuel cars.

When the research is all done – the hope is that one day there will larger turbines whirling under water – a whole farm of them – giving off enough energy to help users disconnect from current energy sources – to clean, green, renewable fuel.

Testing in the water is expected to happen this summer and that green source of energy could begin powering homes within the next five to 10 years.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. tired says:

    One problem. The US territorial waters only extend to 12 miles off the coast. They’re going to place these in unprotected, international waters? That’s a bit of a security risk, doncha’ think?

  2. tim3500 says:

    I used to read about this in the little science mags that came out when I was was a little kid in the mid 60s. The gulf steam has more energy than 1,000,000 hoover dams. It’s up to Florida to do it. I’ll bet you the US gov puts their nose in it though. In Miami the gulf steam is not 12 miles off shore. Florida owns it…

  3. bruce rowan says:

    I don’t believe this will be a real concern, after all transatlantic cable crisscrossed the oceans for many years with no problems. Also, laws can be rewritten or amended if needed.