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Local experts cooperate on ocean energy development

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Three local institutes signed a memorandum of understanding Friday to jointly set up a facility — the first of its kind in Taiwan — for field experiments on ocean power generation as part of efforts to explore alternative energy sources.

National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU), the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Taiwan's state-run shipbuilding company, CSBC Corporation, Taiwan, inked the MOU in Keelung, northern Taiwan to mark the initiation of the project.

Chen Chien-nien, head of the NTOU's College of Engineering, said that while developing green energy has become a mainstream concept, researchers around the world have begun to set their sight on ocean energy that derives from solar radiation and gravitation between celestial bodies such as the sun, the moon and the earth, as one of the most preferable sources of clean energy.

Taiwan, which is surrounded by ocean on all sides, has great potential for developing renewable marine energy, particularly if it can harness energy from the strong Kuroshio current that passes up the east coast of Taiwan throughout the year, according to Chen.

The speed of the current off Green Island and up as far north as Suao can reach up to 1.4 meters per second, and the power the Kuroshio generates near Green Island could be converted into about 1-3 gigawatts of electricity, far more than could be harvested from tidal action, Chen said.

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