The Wave of the Future
With 70 percent of the earth’s surface covered by water, it is certainly feasible that flowing water should be a good source of alternative energy. Energy can be produced by strategically locating turbine engines in the path of strong water currents. Termed hydrokinetic power generation wave energy is predicted to catch up with offshore wind power within five years.
The United Kingdom is leading the wave of the future. The UK government wants to be the world leader in wave and marine technologies, and is preparing to launch an environmental study on marine energy projects in both England and Wales in an effort to develop commercial wave and tidal devices. The study is planned to be completed by late 2011.
“What it took 25 years to do in the wind industry, we want to do in five years,” says Chief Executive Officer Martin McAdam of Aquamarine Power Ltd.
Wave energy is produced when generators that produce electricity are placed on the surface of the ocean. Energy output is determined by wave height, wave speed, wave length, and water density. To date there are very few experimental wave generator plants in operation, but the future looks promising as more companies are pursuing projects for this innovative power source.
Some existing wave energy projects:
The world’s first wave farm is off the coast of Portugal, generating energy for over 1,500 households. Additionally, a company called Enersis is funding a commercial wave energy project in Northern Portugal.
Z6EFPEW56Bhttp://www.alternative-energy-news.info/clean-energy-flowing-waters/WH6PDIn the US, plans are under way to install 875 submerged turbines in the Niagara River.
A Scottish company, AWS Ocean Energy Ltd. is developing one of the few proven technologies for generating electricity from ocean waves. Another company in Scotland, the European Marine Energy Center (EMEC) is testing both wave and tidal technologies and will place its tidal stream power device, The Neptune, at a test site in the Isle of Eday.
BioPower Systems of Australia is developing a new ocean energy technology that will use bionics to mimic natural systems in order to produce energy. Termed biomimicry, it adapts biological traits in engineered systems to develop new ocean energy conversion systems.
For more information visit the following links:
Wave energy racing to catch up with wind, by Nao Nakanishi, Reuters UK, May 5, 2009
AE Wave Power News and Information About Wave Energy and Ocean Power Technologies
UK Launches green study for marine energy, by Nao Nakanishi, Reuters UK, April 30, 2009