Robot Uses Gravity and Buoyancy to Generate Energy
Tom Spendlove posted on June 05, 2019 |
German engineers have developed a robot to harness energy from vertical motion in the water.

Abbas Daeichin is a German engineer passionate about renewable energy, but quick to point out their current drawbacks. He says that renewable energy power plants have large capital costs, low efficiency, and are dependent on the presence of sun or wind. Daeichin and his team have been working for two years on the Marine Acrobat, an underwater robot that generates power from gravity and buoyancy forces. The team has a working prototype and is looking to fund a larger capacity model and eventually create six for a ‘power plant’ through a Kickstarter campaign.

Taking inspiration from the swim bladder of a fish, Abbas used the conflicting forces of buoyancy and gravity to create the vertical motion of the Marine Acrobat. He theorized that moving up and down could cause propellers to turn and generate power. The energy required for the system is the energy required to expand or collapse four balloons inside the bot’s pillars. The campaign page also says that the system is self-charging. The current unit produces 2 kiloWatts, and Daeichin expects the upscaled unit to produce 5 kiloWatts. The longterm goal is for six large units to form a small power generation system capable of 30 kiloWatts. One clever idea is to run the system in desert regions in a pool of mineral oil.

Daeichin and his team are wildly ambitious and optimistic. Claims are made on the page that the unit is self-charging even on its first run, but also 90% efficient, so I'm waiting for more information before making a final judgment. It’s becoming clearer that whatever solution we find to meet the world’s power needs in the coming decades, many sources of energy will be required. It would be fantastic if we could find a way to include buoyancy / gravity powered robots in the mix somewhere. The campaign is not yet successfully funded and ends on June 26.

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