Wind, Water and Sun – Power for Gadeokdo

26 Jan

Research for supplying power for the largest island in Busan, Korea.

As part of our design philosophy for the master plan for Gadeokdo, Korea, we feel it important to address issues of energy production, fresh water and waste treatment, and also food security.

Below is some research into renewable energy for the island development. My conclusion is that tidal stream power would be the best solution for this location, given its geography. Wind turbines would require too much space on the island, and we would prefer not to have spine of the island bristling with fans. Solar is too expensive and the return is not high enough, considering that we are already basically building the infrastructure in the water for all the buildings. Given that, the extra cost of tidal power generation is negligible, and will have long term benefits, not only energy saving and the environment, but also it would help further Korea’s experiments in hydro power generation.


“Traditional” three bladed open fan generator.


Established technology.


Needs space

New fanjet type wind generator.


Less space requirements.
More efficient.


Not yet proven and not yet on market.
Could be expensive to maintain.

Lighter than air Magnus effect generators.


Inexpensive system and maintenance
Adjustable altitude so you can get constant wind.
It’s a balloon!


Low power output 100kW
Might interfere with airport.
Not as “techy” i.e. not a big capital project.


Gorlov’s Helical Turbine – Tidal stream generator

Gorlov’s tests over the past decade have been promising, but slow. In 2002, however, the Republic of Korea began tests of a Gorlov Helical Turbine in the rapid tides of the Uldolmok Strait; the successful results have led to a new phase of the project, in which a 15′ turbine will produce 1,000 kilowatts of power for a nearby island. If that goes well — and all signs are it should — the government of Korea plans to install a sufficient number of Gorlov turbines in the strait to produce 3,600 megawatts of electricity, the equivalent of four nuclear power plants.

To put it into perspective, 1 megawatt or 1000 kilowatts is approximately the power that 1000 homes draw.


No dam needed, free flow water generation
Good power to size output. The 15′ prototype is expected to generate 1000 kW
More reliable than wind.
Less expensive than solar.
Depending on the tidal action of the coast, we could put it right under the buildings, in the parts that are too dark for fish habitat.
It’s already being tested in Korea.


Could be harmful to fish.
Might not be suitable for use right near the buildings as tide action might be low there. But, we could situate them out near the reefs, where the natural bottlenecks would increase the flow.
Untested at scale.

Wave Generators

It works by using the oscillation of the yellow floating part to pump oil that drives a turbine.

The advantage of this strategy is the lower impact of the installation. You don’t really need to sink any piles into the ocean or lay expensive cables. Multiple units are linked to a single generator so even low wave activity can still produce power.


Their 21 megawatt pilot project off the coast of Portugal was sunk (almost literally)
The small versions are only 1000 watts each.


There are alternatives that we should (if we win) design into the plan, some of which include, seaweed or algal biofuels, burning human waste or the methane that is produced from livestock.


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