Marine Energy Research Center - Thematic Projects

Thematic Project: Harnessing the energy of the Kuroshio Current
  • The Kuroshio is the strongest western boundary current in the Pacific Ocean. It flows steadily northward along the east coast of Taiwan. The total volume transport of the Kuroshio is about 20-30 x 106 m3/s. With Taiwan’s geographical advantage, there are some potential sites near the east coast suitable for harnessing the energy of the Kuroshio Current.
  • This project proposes a feasibility study through field measurements and numerical modeling to assess the power reserve of the Kuroshio east of Taiwan.
    • Field measurements will be taken for a range of frequencies and locations using both shipboard ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) and buoy-mounted/bottom-mounted instruments. Current velocities based on in situ measurements and historical datasets will be analyzed to explore the Kuroshio Current characteristics and metrics capable of affecting turbine generators, the anchorage system, and the placement of turbines.
    • Besides, a high resolution, data assimilating ocean model of Seas Around Taiwan (SAT model) is developing to track spatial and temporal variations of circulation in the Kuroshio area when constrained by observational data and nested within regional larger-scale models.
  • To achieve the most efficient energy harvesting, we will also provide a functional optimization of the arrangement and selection of current turbines by using SAT model simulations. In addition, we will conduct an environmental impact study using model simulations for the Kuroshio power harvesting, even at the level of a few gigawatts.