Ordinarily, when a ship is heading into waves, those waves cause it to
work harder. An experimental new setup known as a "whale tail," however,
utilizes wave action to actually help ships move forward, allowing them
to use less fuel when tackling rough seas.
Although wave energy-harvesting systems are often just presented as
concepts that may someday see actual use, one was recently deployed in
Hawaii to provide power to the municipal grid. Built by Northwest Energy
Innovations, the Azura device will remain in operation for a 12-month
assessment period, with an eye toward eventual commercialization.
Harnessing wave power can be a tricky business. It's one thing to build a device that simply moves up and down with the waves, but another to build one that's efficient enough to be cost-effective. Swedish company CorPower Ocean claims to have done just that, however. Its wave energy converter buoys reportedly generate five times more energy per ton of device, at a third the cost of other wave power systems.
An old fishing trawler has been given new life in Norway, where it's now anchored offshore in the Stadthavet area and serving as a wave power plant. It's part of a project which ultimately calls for larger, purpose-built vessels to convert wave motion into electricity.
Watching on as the waves crashed against the cliffs of South Corsica, France, mechanical engineer Dragan Tutić knew some were already drawing on power
from the ocean to generate electricity. But a possible use for all that motion in the ocean that had been largely unexplored, as far as he knew, was turning its salty seawater into the fresh, drinkable variety on the spot. In the following two and a half years, Tutić and his team designed and tested a prototype for a wave-powered desalinator, and now hold hopes of deploying the system in regions where water scarcity threatens the survival of coastal communities.
Scotland's Albatern is putting a new, modular spin on renewable energy generation. WaveNET is a scalable array of floating "Squid" generator units that harvest wave energy as their buoyant arms rise and fall with the motion of the waves. Each Squid can link up to as many as three others, effectively creating a large, floating grid that's flexible in every direction. The bigger this grid gets, the more efficient it becomes at harvesting energy, and the more different wave movements it can extract energy from. Albatern's 10-year target is to have 1.25 kilometer-long floating energy farms pumping out as much as 100 megawatts by 2024.
Many organizations around the world are looking at ways to harness the power of waves
as a renewable energy source, but none are covering quite the same ground as a team of engineers from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The seafloor carpet, a system inspired by the wave absorbing abilities of a muddy seabed, has taken exploring the potential of wave power to some intriguing new depths.
Israel's Eco Wave Power (EWP) has just signed a memorandum of understanding agreement with the Ocean University of China to fund and test its first commercial scale Wind Clapper and Power Wing wave energy generation system.
If you’ve ever sat in a beach-side coffee house wondered if there was a white shark in the vicinity, then wonder no more because now there’s an app for that. A team of Stanford University researchers lead by Prof. Barbara Block is deploying a fleet of static buoys and Wave Glider robots to turn the waters off the coast of San Francisco into a huge Wi-Fi network to track tagged fish and animals. This will allow scientists to better understand sea life movements, but the project also includes offering a free app to the public that will allow them to track northern California white sharks on their tablets and smartphones.
Lockheed Martin has teamed up with Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) to develop one of the world’s largest wave energy generation projects. The 19-megawatt project to be located off the southern coast of Australia in Portland, Victoria, will be built around OPT’s PowerBuoy technology
that has previously been trialed by the U.S. Navy off the coast of New Jersey for powering remote sea-based radar and communications systems.