Seeking alternative sources of energy has been an uphill battle–to say the least! The challenge is to find a source that can supply on a small scale basis that is simple yet affordable.
Enter The SHARKS
In 2020, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) brought their new project, Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems, a.k.a SHARKS, to life. This $38 million project aimed to develop alternative Hydrokinetic Turbines capable of harvesting energy from flowing water sources.
One of these devices was the manta-kite generator that the SRI is currently designing.
How Do The Manta-Kites Work?
The underwater crafts are constructed from common materials such as fiberglass and foam. They are attached to a generator employing a tether and are secured to the bottom of the water source.
The flat-bellied manta-kite then gravitates towards the moving water reeling it in. Naturally, the process of being able to reel in the energy generated by the water requires electricity, but not as much as what it generates, and the difference is the energy it can supply.
Currently, each individual manta-kite can generate energy to no less than 12 homes! The most optimized path for the generator to follow is still in its infancy phase. The SRI is still actively researching the critical path to follow to get the most energy out of the device.
It is thought that by doing a concurrent series of 8-figure shapes. The bigger the motion is from the manta-kites, and the higher the frequency of speed, the more power it will be able to produce.
The Potential Threat to Marine Life
Some measures need to be put in place to ensure that any marine life that is in the vicinity of the kites are protected at all times. One way of mitigating this is by making the manta-kites as light in weight as possible not to cause damage.
The devices also move at a slower pace, posing less of a risk, although it is powerful enough to generate a great deal of power!