One idea that I settled on was to drive a steel piling into the bay, and attach a series of octopus-like arms out from the piling. At the end of each arm would be a concrete floating planter, similar to the concrete docks where I worked. Each planter would be designated as either a 'marine', or 'terrestrial' planter. The marine planters would be empty, but the terrestrial planters would be filled with soil and planted with a guild of native shrubs and trees. From a distance, the shrubs and trees would make the whole thing look like a natural island.
Each arm would have the ability to produce electricity, via gear reduction, air pressure, hydraulic pressure, magnetic pressure (linear motor), or something like that. The arms could be locked in place at any position (probably balanced to keep the center of gravity under control), under the control of some smart software running in a controller either on the piling or at some remote control center.
When none of the arms are locked, the planters rise and fall with the tide, producing power when the tide is rising or falling. Somewhat useful, but kind of boring, and probably not in sync with demand. What is more interesting is when the whole thing operates like a battery, storing energy. e.g. at high tide, an arm could be locked, and then be allowed to produce power (i.e. drop) whenever there is demand, until the next high tide. The weight of the planter (+arm) generates the power. Likewise, at low tide, the marine planters could be locked in place. When there is demand for power before the next low tide, the marine planter would be allowed to float (rise), producing power.
If the marine planter had a valve to control whether the planter held water or not, it could be allowed to fill with water after a low tide, float up to the high tide level, then be locked in place. So it would have the weight of the planter plus the weight of the water.
It might even be possible for the marine planter to be made airtight, providing stronger upward force after a low tide. However since the marine planter is essentially a tide pool, locking tidepool animals into an airtight environment seems like a bad idea. Also leaving them without water for too long would kill them. But the smart control software could account for this.
Of course one piling wouldn't produce much power, but a whole network of them would. Also if you had a whole network, each piling could be simplified to have just one circular planter.
I don't envision filling an entire estuary with these, but I when I was in Vancouver I saw some pretty large estuary areas filled with log rafts, so you already are using a lot of estuary space for human purposes.
I imagine that many animals (especially birds) would choose to roost and perhaps even nest in the terrestrial planters. Likewise, marine organisms would live on/in the marine planters. It might be wise to provide a little space between planters which may not rise and fall together, to avoid pinning some creature between them. Likewise they would need to be clearly marked "don't tie your boat here" otherwise the boater would find themselves being lifted into the air or pulled underwater.
I realize this is an unproven, fairly wacky idea, but if the controls were smart enough, I think it could really work well as a tidal power source with built-in energy storage.
John Duda wrote:Dave you got one out of three apple trees to fruit in 6 years. That's considerably better than the war stories about growing from seed proclaim. That's what I'm interested in. Are the results of your efforts better than what the common knowledge tells us? Do your fruits taste better than you expected? Do you get quicker results, smaller trees than the giants they tell us results? Have you grafted to any of your seed grown trees
Natalie Manor wrote:I have the same dream about the sunflowers. The land I am looking at is mostly flat so I was going to do berms with sun flowers the first year. The finch's go crazy for the seeds still on the flower. Fun to watch. Do you just let the flowers filled with seed fall to the ground or do you break them up and spread? When you grow for your birds, do you deseed the flower or just cut the flower head for the birds? Thanks.