New Power Wave Heads Out to Sea

An article focused on the future of Wave Energy published by the New Scientist, features Anaconda by Checkmate Seaenergy.

Read the full article at the New Scientist site here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128276.100-new-power-wave-heads-out-to-sea.html?full=true

An explosion of designs for harvesting wave energy could make the process competitive at last – and they’re heading out to the ocean for testing

WRINGING electricity from the sea is no small task. But as firms start to test their wave-energy harvesters in the open ocean that could be about to change.

Heaving water holds 40 times more energy than air moving at the same speed, and sea states change more slowly than breezes, making it easier for utilities to predict the availability of energy. Yet the tools needed to make use of the sea’s energy are gargantuan.

“If you can get that sort of level of performance improvement then the economics suddenly start to look a lot more favourable,” says Stephen Wyatt, head of technology acceleration at The Carbon Trust, a UK-government-funded organisation charged with catalysing a low-carbon economy.

A study published by The Carbon Trust in July estimated the cost of energy harvested from waves at 43 pence per kilowatt-hour, or almost three times the cost of offshore wind. To become cost competitive with other sources of renewable energy, companies will have to find ways to squeeze more power out of their devices, says Wyatt.

One of the most promising, according to a three-year study by The Carbon Trust, is AnacondaMovie Camera by Checkmate Seaenergy, based in Sheerness, UK. This is a snake-like rubber tube filled with water that floats just below the surface. As waves hit the front of the device they squeeze the tube, creating a bulge of water that travels along it. When the bulge reaches the end, the pressurised water drives a turbine.

An 8-metre long prototype has been tested, but the firm says it will be several years before its full-scale 1-megawatt device, which would be 150 metres long, is ready.

With such devices arriving with increasing frequency, it’s too early to tell which technology will win outMovie Camera in the end. “That is part of the excitement,” Kermode says. “It may be something completely new or variations on something we have already seen.”