The Gulf Stream Turbine in a submersible power plant that has its center of buoyancy located above its center of gravity to provide inherent stability. A unique depth-control system uses leveraged forced to balance the hydrodnamic lifting forces to the downward vector forces to control depth.
The Gulf Stream Turbine is a unique concept for a self-supporting submersible power plant that utilizes the laws of physics to give it great inherent stability and to control depths. To neutralize the torque that would otherwise roll a tethered generator in the direction opposite to the turbine's rotation, the machine has two turbines and generators that rotate in opposite directions so that that torque produced by one turbine is neutralized by that produced by the other. The two generators and gearboxes are housed in watertight, rear-facing nacelles that are located below and to each side of a torpedo-shaped buoyancy tank that extends fore and aft.. The weight of the heavy generators and gearboxes serve as ballast to get the structure's center of gravity far below the center of buoyancy. A pair of hydrofoils and a vertical tail fine are mounted at the rear of the torpedo-shaped buoyancy tank.
The invention is based on the relative positions of buoyancy and weight to obtain its great inherent stability and mechanical simplicity, and on a unique low-hitch-point system for balancing the hydrodynamic lifting forces to the changing downward vector forces to control depth. A second depth control system, which consists of just two pumps and a controllable pressure switch, moves the ballast water from one end of the buoyancy tank to the other to adjust the hydrofoils' angle of attack to conrol the depth.
Because the machines would be constructed of light carbon fiber and fiberglass, they will require less displacement than if made of metal and - more importantly - their structures will not corrode. Because of the Gulf Stream Turbines' simplicity and lack of moving parts, these machines can generate electricity for very long periods with virtually no servicing. The actual conversion of the water's kinetic energy into electricity can utilize the same technologies that are used by the wind-turbine industry. However, unlike the wind turbines, these machines will operate in a dust-free environment and produce power 24-7.
A Gulf Stream Turbine, equipped with two 1500 KW generators and operating with a capacity factor of 85%, would generate 26,298 MWh per year, equal to that produced by burning 154.7 billion Btu of natural gas. At a gas cost of $10/MMBtu, the value of that gas saved would be $1,547,000 per year.
If the power produced by just one Gulf Stream Turbine replaced that being generated with the gas turbines, it would reduce the CO2 emissions by 9,049.7 tons; and if it were to reokace that being produced with coal, it would reduce the CO2 emissions by between 18,000 and 26,000 tons.
Based in a capital costs of $1,000 per kW, if the interest rate were at 7% over 5 years, the capital costs would be 3.29 cents per kWh. If those costs were financed at 5% over 20 years, they would be 21.06 cent per kWh. Because these mechanically simple machines will require virtually no maintenance and will consume no fuel, they can generate electricity with virtually no operating costs. That means that, after the capital cost have been amortized, the costs, the costs of the electricity will be drop to near zero.