Unlimited energy – are we there yet?
Wave power is lovely stuff. It rarely erratic (unlike solar and wind) and of course free. It’s also really difficult to make the tech work reliably – to the extent we last wrote about it over a year ago. . . but this Swedish company look like they may have cracked it. . .
From Wired: “With all that to-and-fro and ebb-and-flow, the motions of the ocean offer an endless supply of renewable energy. Or they would, if engineers could figure out how to capture that power. Most prototypes for wave-energy converters have been massive and costly, or else they’re torn apart during violent storms at sea. But a Swedish company called CorPower Ocean may finally have a solution. Tests show its new buoy can produce three times as much electricity as the best rival tech, with a far more practical design.
For starters, it’s relatively small: Whereas other devices can stretch hundreds of feet across and weigh well over a thousand tons, CorPower’s bobbing red machine is a mere 26 feet in diameter. Yet a single buoy stationed offshore can generate about 250 kilowatts of power—enough to cover the electricity needs of 200 homes. Wave-power farms could contain hundreds or even thousands of them.
The process relies on three key components: a mooring line that holds the buoy in place and keeps it upright and stable; a device called the WaveSpring that causes the buoy to oscillate in time with incoming waves; and a gear mechanism that converts that bobbing motion into electricity with maximum efficiency. The company’s engineers have tested the wave-energy converters in tanks, and field trials are scheduled for next year.”…more…