Magazine touts NJIT idea to harness clean energy for NYC

Jul 14, 2009

An NJIT architecture professor with an architecture student has designed a network of modular floating docks to harness clean energy for New York City. The proposal was featured this week in Metropolis magazine.

According to Richard Garber, a professor of architecture at the College of Architecture and Design at NJIT and his student Brian Novello, the tidal action of New York City rivers would be strong enough to run the system.

The docking stations would plug into the conventional piers of New York City. Eventually, the piers would be extended further into the river to optimize clean energy generation while increasing public green space and tidal pools for wildlife. The system would encourage energy awareness by the increased visibility of the connection between the water's edge and the city's interior.

The stations would alleviate the need for conventional power to light the city streets. Three vertical turbines fastened to the underside of modular floating dock units would harness river currents. Each module could generate up to 24 kilowatts of constant energy created by the bi-directional four mph current, supporting 350 LED streetlamps.

This is an important idea because it relates to the current work aimed at reclaiming access to New York City's 578 miles of waterfront. The relationship of the river to the city, not simply its edges, is at the core of the proposal. What if the creation of a modular docking system to expand public access to the rivers and create recreational opportunities could actually produce energy by utilizing the flow of river currents? Energy produced could then be fed back to the city's power grid through existing underground transmission lines to power urban infrastructure--in this case, streetlamps.

There is already precedent for turbines creating energy in the waters off though the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project (RITE). However, this new scheme would generate a similar amount of energy while creating new public spaces and tidal pools through which expanded contact with river-based programs could occur.

Unlike windmills, which have garnered "not in my backyard" responses because of various negative impacts (visual obstructions, increased noise, danger to migrant bird populations; underwater turbines cannot be seen or heard. But there is another side: Windmills and other energy-producing products permit a visual understanding of power generation via an effect (they literally move, rotate, etc.). Turbines, though, are out of sight. The floating, programmable surface of docking stations would serve to link energy production with a physical space and the effect of powering the city.

Source: New Jersey Institute of Technology

Explore further: Old timey car to replace NYC horse carriages shown

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mersey River tidal power station proposed

Nov 22, 2005

The Mersey River may soon become the first river in Britain to generate electricity by tidal activity. The river, known for its leaping salmon, is now being tested as a possible renewable energy source.

Oxford turbines to harvest energy from tides

Sep 10, 2008

Oxford researchers have developed a new tidal turbine which has the potential to harness tidal energy more efficiently and cheaply, using a device which is simpler and more robust and scaleable than current ...

Tide machines may be major power sources

Jun 01, 2006

The Norwegian firm, Statkraft, has proposed creating underwater tide-harnessing machines to provide up to 3 percent of the European Union's electricity.

MIT designs 'invisible,' floating wind turbines

Sep 18, 2006

An MIT researcher has a vision: Four hundred huge offshore wind turbines are providing onshore customers with enough electricity to power several hundred thousand homes, and nobody standing onshore can see them. The trick? ...

Turning the tide to energy

Mar 06, 2009

NASA researchers who developed a new way to power robotic underwater vehicles believe a spin-off technology could help convert ocean energy into electrical energy on a much larger scale. The researchers hope ...

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

16 hours ago

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

17 hours ago

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

Wireless power transfer achieved at five-meter distance

17 hours ago

The way electronic devices receive their power has changed tremendously over the past few decades, from wired to non-wired. Users today enjoy all kinds of wireless electronic gadgets including cell phones, ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

( —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Six Nepalese dead, six missing in Everest avalanche

At least six Nepalese climbing guides have been killed and six others are missing after an avalanche struck Mount Everest early Friday in one of the deadliest accidents on the world's highest peak, officials ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...