Apparently, the idea of using sea wave energy is almost as old as the world. If romanticts prefer to fall into a reverie on the shore near sea waves and/or to air young maidens accompanied by the wash, pragmatists have been thinking for centuries how to utilize enormous power of the sea. The first patent for water energy utilization was granted in France nearly 400 years ago, so the idea has already been thoughtfully studied and even driven to industrial implementation.
Experimental wave electric power stations are already operating in Norway and Portugal, there is an experimental tidal electric power station functioning in Russia in Kola Peninsular, Japan has beacons and lighthouses utilizing wave energy, and in India, the Madras port lightship is running on wave energy. Nevertheless, among the variety of constructions there has been no coastal installation so far, which, would convert sea-wave energy into electric pwer and be relatively small, simple and, most importantly, inexpensive. Such an installation was designed by the specialists of the Center for Renewable Energy, its offices being based in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Its principle of operation is rather simple. A double-armed lever is fastened on the post hammered in the sea bottom not far from the coast. There is a flat float on the one arm (the one which is longer). The other is connected to the water pump plunger. Waves raise the float, at that the pump injects water into the reservoir-storage on the coast – something similar to the water tower. When flowing out of this reservoir under the action of gravity, water gets on the hydrotreater’s turbine wheel fin, rotates it, and hydrotreater produces electric current – likewise any electric power station.
As a result, by using two absolutely free forces – wave energy and gravity, relatively inexpensive electric power can be obtained, and most importantly, this can be done without destroying natural fuel supply or any damage to the environment.
The indisputable advantage of such installation is its simplicity. Firstly, its proper electric generator is located on the coast – consequently, it is easy to assemble and there will be no need to lay out a cable for electric current transfer, as it should be done for the overwhelming majority of current wave installations. Secondly, the installation consists of parts simple in production, and the principle of operation of each element is well-known. Therefore, it will be easy to produce and assemble such installation – it is much easier and less expensive than to produce a big wave electric power station. And finally, the electric module of the new installation needs nothing but sea waves to operate – the module is capable of running quite independently, and this is a significant advantage. This is particularly important in the locations where electric light disruptions occur regularly due to broken off wires.
Is such an installation available for purchase now? Alas, not yet. So far, there exists a small working model, but this summer the designers are planning to test a full-scale model in real-life environment – to revise and optimize some parameters. However, the authors are absolutely sure of success. They have already made sure experimentally that the float of only the 5 cubic meter volume will be able to ensure capacity of no less than 5 kWt at sea roughness of 2 to 3 points. “It is absurd not to use a whole ocean of energy, which is splashing literally close by, says one of installation designers, Anton Kirunin. So, after testing we are planning to develop engineering documentation for the industrial-scale plant – and its production can be started.”
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