Self-propelled glider uses ocean’s heat to power itself

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We’ve seen autonomous ocean gliders before, but the team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has just completed the first successful run of a glider that doesn’t require its own power — instead, it uses the heat difference between the warm upper layers of the ocean and the colder depths to propel itself. Not needing an internal power source let the glider traverse the Virgin Islands Basin between St. Thomas and St. Croix at depths of 13,000 feet over 20 times when it was launched in December, and the team estimates that it could run for another six months if necessary. The ocean’s heat differential is a “virtually unlimited energy source,” according to one Woods Hole researcher — hmm, beach-charger, anyone?

[Thanks, Charlie]


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