Did you know that about one-third of the world’s total reserves of oil and gas lie offshore below the ocean’s surface?
The oceans are also a source of energy because the ocean’s wind, waves, heat, and tides can all be harnessed to drive electricity generators. These types of renewable energy sources are very important for our sustainable future.
Your challenge is to think like an engineer and design and make a model of an offshore wind turbine.
Have you ever seen an offshore wind farm in the ocean?
There are many in the oceans around northern Europe, and the first offshore wind farm in the southern hemisphere is being built off the Victorian coast. Wind turbines use large blades which catch the wind.
When the wind blows, the blades rotate, driving a generator that makes electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity is produced. Offshore wind turbines tend to generate more electricity than onshore turbines because winds on the ocean are usually stronger than those on land.
Check out some images of offshore wind farms here.
What materials might you use?
Can you make a model using paper straws, icy pole sticks, long bamboo skewers, recycled milk cartons, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, plastic spoons, paper cups, corks, modelling clay, glue, or sticky tape?
Share photos and students’ work samples via National Science Week’s online community. The Australian Science Teachers Association loves to see pictures of children in the classroom learning, and to share photos via email at email@example.com or share what has been created via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #scienceweek! Please ensure that you have parental permission prior to posting any images of students.
The Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre located in Launceston aims to identify, and develop offshore renewable energy systems and devise new solutions that can meet our energy demands. Learn more about what it aims to do here. Listen to an ABC Future Tense podcast about offshore architecture and a range of perspectives about a blue economy here.
4:44min Marine Nation 2025: Marine Science to Support Australia's Blue Economy, a report produced by the Australian Government Oceans Policy Science Advisory Group, outlines six major challenges involving Australia's marine estate and maritime industries -- sovereignty, security and natural hazards; energy security; food security; biodiversity conservation and ecosystem health; a changing climate; and optimal resource allocation - and the marine science required to support industry and governments in meeting them.