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There are already a wide variety of renewable energy systems that harness the power of the wind, along with some that generate power via the flow of ocean currents. According to Japanese engineering firm MODEC (Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co.), however, its soon-to-be-tested SKWID system will be the first one to do both.


SKWID stands for Savonius Keel and Wind Turbine Darrieus. This is appropriate, as it’s an anchored floating platform that contains both a Savonius tidal turbine below the waterline, and a Darrieus vertical-axis wind turbine up in the air. The two are connected by a central gearbox/generator, allowing the SKWID to generate power from the currents, the wind, or both. Additionally, the rotation of the tidal turbine can be used to help get the wind turbine spinning, when breezes are light and it needs a bit of extra inertia.


The design of the Darrieus turbine is such that it can spin to the left or to the right, so it works regardless of the wind direction. The tidal turbine spins in just one direction, but it does so irrespective of the direction of the current. It is reportedly able to harness even the weakest of currents, and is not affected by marine growth on its half-cyclinder-shaped buckets/blades. Additionally, because it spins no faster than the current, it is claimed to be safe for marine life.


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