Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A more efficient, lighter device that generates up to three times more electricity from waves

20.05.2003


The world’s oceans hold the key to our future electricity needs. And their potential for producing power has yet to be fully exploited in terms of sustainable energy. The EUREKA WWEC project team hopes to bring exploitation of this renewable energy source a big step forward.



“We’ve developed a device that generates energy from the sea as easily as a wind turbine would do on land,” explains William Dick, managing director of the Irish company Wavebob that led the project. “There’s an awful lot of electricity to be had in the North Atlantic.”

Flouting convention, the EUREKA WWEC project team looked to develop a commercially licensable technology that could be deployed far out at sea in large arrays. “There’s much more power available offshore because waves lose energy as they come into shallower water,” explains Dick.


Floating largely below the water surface, self-reacting and loosely moored, the Wavebob developed by the WWEC project converts the energy of ocean waves into electricity.

Along with partners from Norway and the UK, Wavebob developed technology based on a heaving buoy. Unlike a familiar floating buoy, this pulls against a reaction mass, typically a massive plate or the sea bed, as it rises and falls. Up to now such devices have serious problems, there are practical limits to the reaction mass that may be carried, and they may oscillate too violently in big seas, “In the Wavebob, we have found effective and low cost solutions to these problems, - it is a significant technical breakthrough,” claims Dick.

The breakthrough is based on several innovations - an ability to recover power from big waves and to tune the buoy to varying sea-states.

“To date devices are built to match the most common wave frequency (the ’’spectral frequency’’) of the chosen site and then be less efficient when the wave climate changes. If the wave differs a lot from the design frequency, the device will sometimes be left just wallowing in the waves,” explains Dick. “The Wavebob is the first device that may be easily and rapidly tuned across a range of frequencies using on-board intelligence or remotely – making it much more efficient.”

It can also be quickly de-tuned, vitally important for survival in the North Atlantic where the 100-year extreme seas may reach 35 metres in height. Much of the R&D and design criteria have been focussed on the matter of survival, - ocean storms are hard taskmasters.

A lighter system means an impressive watts per tonne ratio and lower costs in offshore installation and mooring systems. The size depends on the local wave climate, as a device built for the North Atlantic would weigh several times more than one sized for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Dick found the additional status that comes with being part of a EUREKA project of particular value. “EUREKA has been important because it’s a sort of rubber stamp. It says look, the Ministerial Conference has looked at this, they like what you’re doing. It’s an endorsement,” he says.

Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be/wwec

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life
06.08.2020 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht ETRI develops eco-friendly color thin-film solar cells
31.07.2020 | National Research Council of Science & Technology

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rare Earth Elements in Norwegian Fjords?

06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Anode material for safe batteries with a long cycle life

06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel

06.08.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>