New turbine could use the ocean to generate electricityUPDATED 8:23 PM HST May 31, 2013Video Transcript
Generating electricity from the ocean. What better place to do that than right here in Hawaii? As KITV4's Justin Fujioka reports... a local company says it can use ocean water to cut your power bill in HALF! Water turbines like these that create power at China's Three Gorges Dam have been around for decades. But they all use freshwater. That could change. Richard Navarro is president of Hawaii-based Creative Minds Solutions and says he's developing the world's first device that uses the ocean to drive a land-based turbine to generate electricity. Richard Navarro: "WE'RE GOING TO BE SUBJECTING THEM TO A NEW TYPE OF ELEMENT, SPECIFICALLY SALTWATER. SO WE WANT TO PROTECT THAT AND SO THERE IS A NEW NANO- TECHNOLOGY THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT THAT WILL ALLOW US TO COAT THE TURBINES AND PREVENT THEM FROM CORROSION." He says the system uses gravity to funnel water into offshore pipes. The water spins the turbines and generates power. Then, the water is pushed back out through another pipe. The water will be warmer when it comes out... but Navarro says, not by much. Richard Navarro: "WE HAVE TWO MARINE BIOLOGISTS ON OUR TEAM TO EXAMINE ANY POTENTIAL INTERACTION WITH THE WATER WHEN IT RETURNS BACK TO THE OCEAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE ISN'T ANY DAMAGE TO LIVE CORALS." He also plans on having filters on both pipes to block sea life or humans from getting hurt. The turbines will be onshore, but buried. Navarro will use the materials he digs up to build berms he calls "aesthetically pleasing." Justin Fujioka: "NAVARRO SAYS EACH DEVICE WILL NEED ABOUT 15 ACRES OF LAND AND MOST OF IT WILL BE UNDERGROUND. WHEN COMPLETE, THE AREA WOULD LOOK A LOT LIKE MAGIC ISLAND." Navarro's eyeing Kapolei to build his prototype. Richard Navarro: "THERE IS EASIER CONNECTION TO THE GRID FOR HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANY. THAT REDUCES OUR COST, REDUCES THEIR COST." And he says... eventually, all of ours... by up to 50 percent. Justin Fujioka, KITV4 News. Navarro says they've started laying the groundwork for the project and is currently working on getting funding and an environmental impact assessment. He says construction will take five to seven years.