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An Untapped Resource

A great share of the energy currently used by humans comes from the solar radiation of the sun. Although most commonly in the form of food and oil, it is becoming increasingly popular to harness this power using photovoltaic cells and wind turbines.

Did you know that there is an enormous, virtually untapped energy resource from our closest celestial body, the moon? This power results from the gravitational pull between two massive bodies (us and the moon), which we witness through the tidal cycle.

What is the Tidal Cycle?

Tides refer to the constant cyclical oscillation in water flow and height of large water bodies (eg. oceans, bays, estuaries, etc…) as a result of Earth’s interaction with approximately 100 celestial forces. At any point in this cycle, these forces create a fixed tidal bulge under which the Earth rotates on its axis. Consequently, the ocean surface rises and falls relative to the Earth’s surface creating a tidal current.

Although the sun and other celestial bodies affect the earthly tidal cycle, tides are predominantly influenced by the gravitational force of the moon. During spring tides, when the sun and moon forces are aligned, we see the largest tidal range, ie. the most extreme high and low tides. This phenomenon takes place approximately every 14 days. The Neap tides occur when these gravitational forces work against each other, producing less intense high and low tides. This happens during the first and last lunar quarters. The spring and neap tides combine into over one hundred different components that create an 18.6 year complete tidal cycle. Although this is a relatively long and complex cycle, it can be precisely predicted for the next 1,000 years. In order to harness the current speeds induced by the tidal bulge, tidal power turbines are placed directly into areas of high velocity flow. The highest currents occur between slack tides, while the tide is switching between high and low.

Not only are the tides predictable, but they exist all over the globe.





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